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ICA

ICA shareholders reap 610m kronor rewards

Swedish supermarket chain ICA has announced a profit after tax of 1.523 billion kronor for 2005 - up from 1.516 billion the year before.

Income was 71.7 billion kronor, compared to 73.3 billion in 2004.

In announcing the results the ICA board revealed that they have decided to sell the Ica Meny subsidiary, which distributes products to restaurants and canteens.

In the fourth quarter of 2005 ICA made a profit after tax of 455 million kronor, compared to 294 million kronor in the same period of the previous year. Turnover climbed to 19.3 billion kronor from 19.5 billion kronor in 2005.

Managing director Kenneth Bengtsson wrote in the report that ICA was expecting the fierce competition in the market to continue in 2006.

“But we are focused on reaching a position of market leadership in Sweden, Norway and the Baltics,” he wrote.

The board and managing director is proposing doling out 610 million kronor to the shareholders, Holland’s Royal Ahold, which owns 60%, and Swedish Hakon Invest, which owns the remainder.

TT/The Local

POLAND

Swedish beef fillet turns out to be horsemeat

Sweden's food safety regulator said on Monday it had asked prosecutors to investigate a company believed to have labelled Polish horsemeat as Swedish beef tenderloin.

Swedish beef fillet turns out to be horsemeat

“We can’t say with certainty where this meat comes from because the documentation is so inadequate,” Karin Cerenius of the control unit of the National Food Agency (Livsmedelsverket) told AFP.

The food security watchdog had been contacted by a consumer in Sundsvall in northern Sweden who was concerned over the size and colour of a beef steak she had bought from a local Ica Maxi grocery store.

The product was withdrawn from sale last week after tests showed it was 100 percent horsemeat.

The agency said inspections at Tallhöjden , based in Öxabäck in western Sweden, showed the firm had insufficient procedures in place for tracking “which products entered the company, which ones leave it, and how they are labelled.”

The company handled both beef and horsemeat, Cerenius said.

Tallhöjden’s head of sales, Johan Sahlin, said the meat had been ordered from another Swedish company that bought it from Poland, and insisted it had been labelled as beef.

“I bought beef fillet,” he said.

The agency’s report to prosecutors covers around 460 kilogrammes of meat, 300 of which remain at the Ica Maxi in Sundsvall, Cerenius told the TT news agency.

According to Tallhöjden, the mislabelled meat was also sold to a pizzeria.

The scandal of horsemeat being passed on as beef has engulfed a string of European countries with millions of ready meals pulled from supermarket shelves.

The row has ensnared major international corporations including Swiss group Nestle and Swedish furniture giant Ikea.

Around two weeks ago, food wholesaler Martin & Servera recalled around one tonne of roast beef that was labelled as pork from Poland, but which actually turned out to be horsemeat.

AFP/The Local/dl

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