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Home > Business > Business Headline > Report

Nutricia to exit India

Reeba Zachariah in Mumbai | November 03, 2003 07:46 IST

Dutch consumer products giant Numico, which operates in India through Nutricia India, is pulling out of the country by selling its business to a consortium of four companies headed by Mirage Impex.

Nutricia started operating in India in 1999 by acquiring the dairy business of Hindustan Lever, which includes brands like Anik, Anikspray and Anik Ghee.

The Dutch major would sell its business for about Rs 13 crore (Rs 130 million), sources close to the deal said. The deal is being handled by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Ashok Phadnis, one of the promoters of Mirage Impex, confirmed the development and said an agreement had been worked out to acquire Nutricia India. "Nutricia has good brands and the deal was attractive," Phadnis said.

The Reserve Bank of India's approval is awaited, and the transaction is expected to be completed before the end of the year. Nutricia executives were not available for comment.

Phadnis is a veteran in the dairy business, and was earlier the managing director of the Madhya Pradesh Dairy Federation. He later joined the Indore-based Ruchi Soya group, heading its venture into the dairy business.

Numico's decision to exit India is in line with its objective of becoming a high-growth, high-margin nutrition company.

Nutricia India operates in the dairy and baby food products business, where profit margins are relatively low.

Ewald van der Ven, Nutricia India's managing director, had earlier told Business Standard: "Numico is trying to evolve into a high-margin, high-growth company focusing on its core activities. Optimisation of each operation is crucial for growth and development. In India, PricewaterhouseCoopers is assisting us in achieving these goals."

The Anik brand, developed by Hindustan Lever, has a strong presence in the northern and eastern belts of the country.

Nutricia had said with this acquisition, it would focus on the production of infant milk formula and baby food for the local market.

The Mumbai headquartered Nutricia India has its production facility at Etah in Uttar Pradesh and sales units in various regions.

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