Friesland Coberco Dairy Foods Holding N.V. and Royal Numico N.V. announce that it is justified to expect to reach an agreement for the acquisition of Nutricia Dairy & Drinks Group by Friesland Coberco, headquartered in Meppel, the Netherlands.

The Nutricia Dairy & Drinks Group, a division of Royal Numico N.V., is responsible for the production and marketing of branded products such as Chocomel/Cécémel, Fristi, Nutroma and Extran in the Benelux, Drinkfit in Germany and Pöttyös Túró Rúdi in Hungary. The Nutricia Dairy & Drinks Group consists of several dairy companies in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, England, Hungary, Romania, Czech Republic and Slovakia. Sales of the Nutricia Dairy & Drinks Group amount to approx. EUR 400 million and show an important yearly growth. The group employs 4,400 persons.

The acquisition of the Nutricia Dairy & Drinks Group is part of the strategy of Friesland Coberco to improve the quality of sales and profitability by enlarging the segment of distinguished branded products within the total sales. The combination of strong brands such as Chocomel/Cécémel, Fristi and Extran with Friesche Vlag, Appelsientje, CoolBest and Taksi will provide Friesland Coberco with an excellent addition to their present assortment for supermarkets and for the strong growing out of home market in the Benelux. The combined portfolio of branded products will offer opportunities for further growth. Moreover, Friesland Coberco will have a strong position in the fast developing dairy markets in Central Europe, especially in Hungary, Romania and the Czech Republic.

The transfer of the Nutricia Dairy & Drinks Group is part of Numico’s strategy to focus on its core activities: infant nutrition, clinical nutrition and nutritional supplements, marketed world wide under well known brands such as Nutricia, Milupa, Cow & Gate, GNC and Rexall Sundown. Anticipating the divestment of this division, the Nutricia Dairy and Drinks Group already operates as a separate organisation, both legally and managerially, as from mid 1997.

The transaction has been supported by an independent financial institution, which evaluated the market value of the Nutricia Dairy & Drinks Group, based on the assumption that a divestment by Royal Numico would not change the earnings per share of Royal Numico. The acquisition price amounts to EUR 664 mio.

The management of the Nutricia Dairy & Drinks Group supports the acquisition by Friesland Coberco and will remain within the company, which will operate as a separate entity within the Friesland Coberco organisation.

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The Works Councils and the unions have been informed of the intended transaction. The relevant antitrust authorities will be duly notified.

Profile Friesland Coberco Dairy Foods

Friesland Coberco Dairy Foods is a multinational company that develops, produces and sells a wide range of branded dairy products and fruit-based drinks for the consumer market, professional users and food manufacturers. Some important brands are Dutch Lady, Frico, Completa, Friesche Vlag, Frisian Flag, Peak, Rainbow, Yo-Most, Frisolac, Debic, CoolBest, Appelsientje and Taksi. In Western Europe, West Africa and South East Asia in particular, Friesland Coberco is strongly represented on the dairy market. In 2000 a net income of EUR 78 million was achieved on net sales of EUR 4.1 billion. Friesland Coberco employs almost 12,000 persons, of which more than 6,500 are based outside the Netherlands.