Incoming chief financial officer of troubled Dutch retailer Ahold said today [Monday] that debt levels between €7m (US$7.9m) and €9m would be satisfactory.

Finnish daily Hensingin Sanonat quoted Hannu Ryopponen as saying that banks could, however, demand that debt be lower than this because the company's earnings outlook is uncertain.

The company currently has debts in excess of €12bn, and is selling off some of its assets to lower debt. The sale of its 99.6% interest in Chilean unit Santa Isabel to local retailer Cencosud was completed last week, for example.

Meanwhile, sales in the second quarter are expected to be reported down at least 10% when the group publishes a trading update on Friday, reports the FT. The flagship supermarket division Albert Heijn is struggling at home in the Netherlands, while sales are also seen down at US Foodservice, the distribution division at the heart of the accounting irregularities that struck the company.