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New Met-Rx Parent to Fire as Many as 80

O.C. BUSINESS PLUS

Jobs: Rexall-Sundown will keep a dozen employees in O.C. Rest will be asked to move from Irvine to Florida.

January 25, 2000|ROBIN FIELDS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The new parent company of Met-Rx USA Nutrition Inc. will dismiss more than half of the Irvine nutritional supplement maker's 140 employees and move most of the remainder to Florida, Met-Rx executives said Monday.

Rexall Sundown Inc., which bought Met-Rx last month for $78 million and agreed to repay $30 million of its debt, plans to fire as many as 80 employees starting in April, Met-Rx Chief Operating Officer Darrell Askey said.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Tuesday February 1, 2000 Orange County Edition Business Part C Page 3 Financial Desk 1 inches; 24 words Type of Material: Correction
Resignation--A business story Jan. 25 misstated the date of Len Moskovits' resignation as chief executive of Met-Rx USA Nutrition Inc. He resigned effective Jan. 10.

Of the remainder, about a dozen employees will remain in Orange County. The rest will be offered posts at Rexall's Boca Raton headquarters, Askey said.

The moves contradicted statements made just after Rexall's purchase, when Met-Rx's chief executive, Len Moskovits, said there were no immediate plans to eliminate any Orange County jobs. Moskovits resigned Monday, saying his decision was unrelated to Rexall's plans.

"Once [Met-Rx] was part of a larger entity it wasn't going to provide me with the same satisfaction," he said. "I have no desire to disparage them. I was outside all of those discussions."

Met-Rx founder Dr. A. Scott Connelly will stay on as the Rexall unit's chief technical officer.

Moskovits, 45, joined the company in 1996. He sold his equity in Met-Rx as part of the Rexall purchase.

Met-Rx, which makes nutrition bars and protein powders, reported sales of $105 million in 1999.

The company recently settled Federal Trade Commission charges that it failed to disclose the health risks of testosterone boosters like those once used by baseball slugger Mark McGwire. The company agreed to disclose potential health hazards on products containing androstenedione and similar steroid hormones.

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