Koninklijke Ahold NV AH
Q1 2013 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 06/04/2013

Operator: Good afternoon and welcome to the Ahold Analyst Conference Call on the First Quarter 2013 Results. Please note that this call is being audiocast and recorded.

In today's call, statements may be made that do not refer to historical facts but refer to expectations based on management's current views and assumptions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance or events to differ materially from those included in such statements. Such risks and uncertainties are discussed in Ahold's Interim Report quarter one 2013 and they are discussed in Ahold's public filings and other disclosures, which are available on Ahold's website.

The introduction will be followed by a question-and-answer session and any views expressed by those asking questions are not necessarily the views of Ahold.

At this time, I would like to turn the call over to Mr. Henk Jan ten Brinke, Vice President, Investor Relations. Please go ahead, Sir.

Henk Jan ten Brinke - IR: Thank you, operator. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to our first quarter 2013 conference call. I'm here with Dick Boer, our CEO and our CFO, Jeff Carr. We will take you through short presentation that's also available on our website and after the presentation, we are happy to take your questions. So with that off to you, Dick.

Dick Boer - CEO: Yeah, good afternoon and good morning to all of you. Thank you Henk Jan. Let me take you through a presentation that we have put on our website.

First of all I would like to get you through the highlights of the first quarter 2013. The sales were up 4.4% at constant exchange rates to EUR10.1 billion. We gained market share in all our major markets and our underlying operating income is in line with last year's.

The operating income EUR345 million is impacted by a EUR63 million pension withdrawal settlement which is a settlement we are pleased with and Jeff will discuss later on in more detail.

We also announced today EUR2.5 billion received up today, but – that we received EUR2.5 billion from dividend and sale of our stake in ICA. Today, we announced that share buyback program has increased to EUR2 billion to be completed by the end of 2014.

Let me go through some of the business highlights. First of all, Ahold USA. We gained market share in all our four divisions. Of course, we mentioned it also this morning, favorable impact from weather and timing of year end, but it's partly offset by the conversion from branded to generic drugs we sell in our stores.

Strong performance in the Stop & Shop New York Metro division, driven by more effective promotions and that Washington market has challenging economic conditions, mainly caused by sequester impacts and the region taken by the government in Washington D.C.

The Netherlands; the market share gain is driven as well by identical sales growth and the conversion of 18 former C1000 stores to Albert Heijn. We have continued investments in our online businesses, and it's driving strong double-digit sales growth. And I will come back, but also our performance in Belgium is clearly on a good track.

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