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Shareholder class action filed against koninklijke (translated as "Royal") ahold n.v. by the law firm of Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP
Bala Cynwyd, PA (ots) - The following statement was issued today by the law firm of Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP:
Notice is hereby given that a class action lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of all purchasers of the common stock of Koninklijke (translated as "Royal") Ahold, N.V. ("Ahold" or the "Company") (NYSE: AHO) between March 6, 2001 and February 21, 2003, inclusive (the "Class Period").
If you wish to discuss this action or have any questions concerning this notice or your rights or interests with respect to these matters, please contact Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP (Marc A. Topaz, Esq. or Stuart L. Berman, Esq.) toll free at 1-888-299-7706 or 1-610-667-7706, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The complaint charges Koninklijke Ahold, N.V. and certain of its officers and directors with issuing false and misleading statements concerning its business and financial condition. Specifically, the complaint alleges that defendants issued numerous statements and filed annual reports with the SEC which described the Company's increasing income and financial performance. As alleged in the complaint, these statements were materially false and misleading because they failed to disclose and/or misrepresented the following adverse facts, among others: (i) that the Company had materially overstated its income by improperly including far higher promotional allowances -- provided by suppliers to promote their products -- than the company actually received in payment; (ii) that the Company's Disco unit had engaged in certain transactions which were possibly illegal and were improperly accounted for; (iii) that the Company was experiencing a slowdown in consumer demand and that, contrary to defendants' representations, the Company's financial performance was not "very solid" and its fundamental business was not really "quite robust"; (iv) that, contrary to defendants' representations, the Company was having difficulty integrating its numerous acquisitions; (v) that the Company lacked adequate internal controls and was therefore unable to ascertain the true financial condition of the Company; and (vi) as a result of the foregoing, the Company's financial statements issued during the Class Period were materially false and misleading.
The Class Period ends on Friday, February 21, 2003. On Monday morning, February 24, 2003, before the opening of regular trading, Ahold shocked the market by announcing that it: (i) would be reducing its earnings expectations for 2002; (ii) would be restating its financial results for 2000, 2001 and its interim results for 2002, primarily due to overstatements of income, which may exceed $500 million, related to promotional allowance programs at U.S. Foodservice in the past two years; (iii) will deconsolidate its interests in three subsidiaries -- ICA Ahold, Jeronimo Martins Retail and Disco Ahold International Holdings; and (iv) has been investigating the legality of certain transactions and their accounting treatment at the Company's Argentine subsidiary Disco; and (v) as a result of all of this, the Company's CEO and CFO, defendants van der Hoeven and Meurs would be resigning.
Later in the day, when the market opened for trading, shares of Ahold's American Depositary Receipts fell $6.53 per share, or more than 61%, to close at approximately $4.16 per share, a far cry below their Class Period high of $32.65 per share, on extremely heavy trading volume of more than 16.2 million shares traded.
Plaintiff seeks to recover damages on behalf of class members and is represented by the law firm of Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP, which prosecutes class actions on behalf of investors and shareholders. For more information on Schiffrin & Barroway, or to sign-up to participate in this action online, please visit http://www.sbclasslaw.com/cgi/signup.cgi.
If you are a member of the class described above, you may, not later than April 28, 2003, move the Court to serve as lead plaintiff of the class, if you so choose. In order to serve as lead plaintiff, however, you must meet certain legal requirements.
More information on this and other class actions can be found on the Class Action Newsline at www.primezone.com/ca.
ots Original Text Service: Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP Internet: http://www.presseportal.de
CONTACT: Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP Darren J. Check, Esq. Three Bala Plaza East Suite 400 Bala Cynwyd PA 19004 Phone: +1/888/299'7706 (toll free) or Phone: +1/610/667'7706 E-Mail: email@example.com