Shares in Dutch retailer Laurus were given a further boost today (23 October) by reports that Ahold's Albert Heijn is planning to end the price war in the Netherlands' grocery sector, rumours that have since been rebuffed by Ahold.

Laurus' stock value has skyrocketed since Wednesday amid takeover speculation and following the announcement that industry veteran Jan Brouwer has taken the helm as CEO. Shares were up from EUR1.97 (US$2.47) at close of trade on Wednesday to reach EUR2.69 at 1.55pm (GMT) today.

Brouwer, who replaced interim CEO Tonn van de Laa, fuelled bid rumours last week by commenting in interviews that he expected the Dutch retail sector to undergo some consolidation and that he saw Laurus playing its part in this.

The momentum generated by such speculation was kept up today, with a report in NRC Handelsblad suggesting that Albert Heijn intends to end the retail price war that has been raging in the Netherlands for the past three years. However, Ahold has since refused to say that the price war is over, telling just-food that competitive pricing remains an important part of the company's strategy to further grow market share.