The Netherlands-based food group Royal Numico is to sell its US vitamin manufacturer Rexall Sundown to rival NBTY for $250 million (€213m) in cash, it said today.
The deal, subject to the usual regulatory approvals, includes Rexall Sundown's production facilities, warehouses and brands. It is expected to be finalised in the third quarter of 2003.
Jan Bennink, CEO of Numico, said the sale is "an important step in the execution of our strategy to become a high-growth, high-margin specialised nutrition company".
Since an overhaul in strategy last year, the Florida-based business, which has failed to show significant growth under Numico's ownership, has been viewed as a non-core asset. Announcing the new focus on baby food and clinical nutrition last November, Bennink revealed that Numico would seek bidders for Rexall, which generated €454 million in sales and €23 million in EBITA in 2002.
NBTY, which makes and distributes nutritional supplements in the United States and worldwide, also owns the Vitamin World and Nutrition Warehouse stores in the US and the Holland & Barrett chain in the UK and Ireland. It recently acquired Numico's GNC franchise in the UK and has been expanding its presence in Europe for some time.
Last week there was speculation about the sale of Numico's other US business GNC, a leading vitamin retailer. Reports suggested Numico would receive informal bids for the unit on Friday but the group has not yet confirmed any offers.