October 22, 2003



Royal Numico Sells Its Vitamin Unit to Apollo Management for $750 Million


Royal Numico NV, Europe's largest maker of baby food, agreed to sell its General Nutrition Cos. vitamin unit to Apollo Management LP for $750 million to focus on its main business and clinical nutrition.


The sale is most likely to be completed in the fourth quarter, Numico said in a statement distributed by Euronext Amsterdam. The Dutch company said it will book a loss of about 375 million euros ($435 million) on the sale. Cash proceeds from the sale will be used to reduce dollar-denominated debt.


Chief Executive Officer Jan Bennink is replacing managers and selling assets as he works to return Numico to profit after the company posted a 2002 loss of 1.64 billion euros.


"Numico will sharpen its focus on its core businesses, baby food and clinical nutrition,'' Bennink said in the statement.


Numico shares rose 97 cents, or 5.3%, to 19.33 euros as of 11:13 a.m. in Amsterdam.


Apollo is a Los Angeles, California-based investment company, handling about $17 billion of assets.


General Nutrition had sales of 625 million euros in the first half of 2003, with 15,200 employees.