Dutch food and nutrition group Royal Numico has announced that it is selling its Rexall Sundown vitamins unit to NBTY for US$250m in cash.

Numico CEO Jan Bennink said the sale of Rexall Sundown is part of the company's strategy to focus on its babyfood and clinical nutrition businesses as well as its US food supplement business GNC. 

NBTY, which earlier this year acquired Numico's UK Health Diet Group for €15.6m (US$18.3m), is a US manufacturer and distributor of nutritional supplements, and also operates the Holland & Barrett chain in the UK and Ireland.

Rexall Sundown employs 290 people and generated €454m in sales in 2002. The intended sale will be inclusive of Rexall Sundown's production facilities, warehouses and brands. The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals and is expected to be finalised in the third quarter of 2003.

It still remains to be seen whether Numico will sell off GNC. In November Bennink said the unit would be sold off if it failed to perform profitably within 18 months. Last week the company tested the water for a possible sale by inviting informal bids from potential buyers in order to see what price GNC might fetch.