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March 1 (Reuters) - Ahold Delhaize, the operator of supermarket chains in the United States and Europe, on Wednesday reported fourth quarter pro forma underlying operating income that came in slightly above analysts’ estimates, driven by strong performance in the Netherlands and at its Delhaize America unit.
The company reported fourth quarter pro forma underlying operating income of 608 million euros, down 3.9 percent from the same period a year ago. Analysts polled for Reuters had seen underlying operating income at 605 million euros.
In January, Ahold Delhaize reported fourth quarter pro forma net sales of 15.51 billion euros, down 1.0 percent on the previous year.
The company confirmed its target for 2017 of 220 million net synergies from the Ahold-Delhaize merger, including 22 million euros realized in 2016. It sees free cash flow of 1.6 billion euros for 2017. (Reporting by Alan Charlish; Editing by Thyagaraju Adinarayan)