UPDATE 1-Ahold expects 200 mln euros savings from U.S. tax reform

(Adds details on savings, online business)

AMSTERDAM, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Ahold Delhaize expects to save roughly 200 million euros ($244 million) from U.S. tax cuts this year, allowing it to invest more heavily in its online business, the Dutch-Belgian supermarket operator said on Wednesday.

The company, which conducts two-thirds of its business in the United States, made the projection as it reported a 70 percent jump to 1.8 billion euros in pro forma income from continuing operations for the fourth quarter.

Tax reforms in the United States and Belgium will lower the group’s effective tax rate in 2018 to the low 20 percent range, down from the mid- to high 20s.

That will help fund a planned rise to 1.9 billion euros in capital expenditure this year, the company said.

Ahold is the largest operator of supermarkets on the East Coast of the United States, where its Peapod grocery delivery business is the market leader.

But it is facing increased competition from the likes of Amazon in its two core markets, the United States and the Netherlands.

Ahold Delhaize’s shares were up 1.7 percent to 18.27 euros at 0905 in Amsterdam.

$1 = 0.8185 euros Reporting by Anthony Deutsch; editing by Sunil Nair and Jason Neely