Swiss based pharmaceutical company Novartis has today (Monday) announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to sell its French headquartered Nutrition & Santé food business to ABN AMRO Capital France for approximately EUR220m (USD260m) on a cash and debt free basis.

The transaction, which requires customary regulatory approvals, is expected to be completed in Q1 2006.
Nutrition & Santé holds the remaining dietary food assets of the former “Health and Functional Food” business unit, which were not sold to Associated British Foods plc in November 2002. At the time of the divestiture, Nutrition & Santé was classified as a non-core asset and has since been included within the Medical Nutrition business unit results.
“Nutrition & Santé has developed a unique range of high-value dietary food products trusted by European consumers. At Novartis, we are committed to focusing on our pharmaceuticals and healthcare businesses. This transaction provides Nutrition & Santé and its employees with a new shareholder who will focus on the business and allows Novartis to realize the value of its investments into Nutrition & Santé,” said Paul Choffat, chief executive officer of Novartis Consumer Health.
“We are enthusiastic about the acquisition of Nutrition & Santé. We are very excited to partner with the management team and we consider the company as an exceptional platform to expand in the dietary food business via organic and external growth”, said Hervé Claquin, chief executive officer of ABN AMRO Capital France.