Dutch food and nutrition group Royal Numico has announced that it has reached an agreement on the sale of its Health & Diet Group for €15.6m (US$17.2m) to Holland & Barrett Group, effective 10 March 2003.

Health & Diet Group is a UK based retail chain with 56 nutritional supplement stores under the GNC brand and a wholesale business that mainly supplies health shops in the UK. Both the production facility and the warehouse in Kearsley are included in the sale. Numico said the combined annualised sales in 2002 of the stores and the wholesale business amounted to approximately €53m, with a slightly negative contribution to EBITA. The company employs approximately 550 people.

Commenting on the sale, Jan Bennink, CEO of Numico, stated: “We are pleased to announce the sale of Health & Diet Group as a strategic step forward in the process of divesting the European supplements activities, as announced in November 2002.”

Holland & Barrett is a wholly-owned subsidiary of US based NBTY and operates 450 health food stores in the UK.