Shares in Ahold have taken a hit amid concerns the Dutch retailer may start to make acquisitions again soon.

The group’s chief financial officer, Hannu Ryopponen, said Ahold may make acquisitions after 2006, and may spend €2bn-3bn (US$2.5bn-3.7bn), reported Reuters.

A spokesman for the company confirmed Ryopponen’s comments, adding that Ahold planned to first cut its debt and boost its ratings before going on the acquisition trail.