Royal Numico has announced the sale of its Mumbai-based Nutricia India to a consortium of four Indian companies.
Financial details were not disclosed but the Dutch firm said its Indian activities, a 'low-margin start-up operation in dairy and baby food', contributed negatively to EBITA in the first half of 2003.
Nutricia India included a production facility in Etah, a head office in Mumbai and several sales units in various regions in India. The transaction is subject to approval by the Reserve Bank of India and is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2003.
Numico is aiming to become a high-growth, high-margin nutrition company and has divested a number of its non-core units in recent months in a bid to cut debts.
This latest divestment sparked rumours in the US press that Numico was nearing a deal for the purchase of its vitamin retail chain there, GNC.
A New York Post report at the beginning of the month said that the New York-based Appollo Advisors were close to 'an agreement in principle' to buy GNC for more than $750 million. It is thought however that leading vitamin maker NBTY could outbid the investment firm.