Dutch food and nutrition group Numico is planning to exit India by selling its Nutricia India operations to a consortium headed by Mirage Impex.

Numico said the divestment is in line with its strategic objective to become a high-growth, high-margin specialised nutrition company. Nutricia India contributed negatively to EBITA in the first half of 2003.

Nutricia India is a low-margin start-up operation in dairy and baby food activities, comprising of a production facility in Etah, a head office in Bombay and several sales units in various regions in India, Numico said.

The transaction is subject to approval by the Reserve Bank of India and is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2003.

Numico entered India in 1999 through the acquisition of the dairy business of Indian consumer goods firm Hindustan Lever.