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US vitamin sales slump hits Numico


Dutch food group Numico NV Wednesday suffered a 10 per cent fall in underlying profit in the third quarter on the back of weaker U.S. vitamin sales and warned that full year cash earnings would be flat.

The world's biggest vitamin and food supplement maker said third quarter net profit before amortisation of goodwill and extraordinary items tumbled to 77 million euros from 86 million last year, well below analysts' expectations.

This is a sharp decline from the 22 per cent surge in underlying profits in the first half and well under the most pessimistic forecast in a Reuters analysts poll.

The consensus forecast of eight analysts was 93 million euros and their range of estimates was 82-100 million euros.

Numico, also Europe's biggest baby formula producer and a maker of specialised hospital food, has seen its shares shed 45 per cent of their value so far this year, mostly due to a slump in its U.S. vitamin and nutritional supplement business.

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