Ahold, the Dutch retailer still restructuring after its 2003 accounting scandal, is to sell its 50 per cent stake in a Spanish wine business to its partner in the joint venture.

Bodegas Williams & Humbert will be sold to Jose Medina y Cia, said Ahold on Thursday. The Spanish company has an option to acquire the joint venture for one euro a share.

The world’s fourth largest retailer also revised its net loss for 2004 to €436m from the €443m announced at the end of March because of a charge relating to the sale of Bi Lo and Bruno stores in the US. Under US Gaap accounting standards the company would have made a net profit of €110m.

The discrepancy in the figures was due to the way acquisitions and disposals are recorded under the different accounting systems, said the company.

Economic uncertainty and the weak US dollar meant the outlook for next year was poor.

“If the US deficit continues to linger at unprecedented levels, if the European economies continue to suffer from the weak dollar and dented US consumer confidence, our future will remain challenging,” said Anders Molberg, chief executive.

However, the Road to Recovery strategy instigated after accounting scandals at the US Foodservice unit has been making ‘solid progress’.

As part of the restructuring, the supervisory board resigned in two phases. The second set of four non-executive directors has now been appointed, said the company in its annual report and accounts released on Thursday.

“We are working hard to re-establish US Foodservice as a viable, reliable and ethical company,“ said Mr Molberg.

The company also announced a 16 per cent rise in the Mr Moberg’s salary package.

In mid morning trading, Ahold shares were up 0.79 per cent €6.34.

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