ICN Will Buy 84% of Ailing Vitamin Maker

Times Staff Writer

ICN Pharmaceuticals Inc., the Costa Mesa drug maker, agreed Wednesday to purchase 84% of ailing Moxie Industries Inc. of Anaheim, a vitamin maker and marketer, for $4.25 million in cash.

In a separate action, Moxie officials Wednesday reported a fiscal 1987 first-quarter loss of $489,000 and said that losses through May have totaled nearly $1 million.

Moxie officials would not comment on the reason for the sale. ICN released a terse written statement, but officials could not be reached to comment on why they are buying the bulk of the ailing vitamin company's shares.

ICN intends to buy the Moxie shares from a West German limited partnership called Peter Eckes.

"After completion of the acquisition, Moxie's operations will be transferred to SPI Pharmaceuticals Inc., ICN's 89%-owned subsidiary," said ICN's written statement.

Hardy von Auenmuller, Moxie's president, said Wednesday that no major changes or layoffs are in the works.

Moxie's 1987 operating loss through May totaled $941,000, Auenmuller said, and reflects the troubles felt throughout the nutrition business.

"It is the overall nutritional business which is very much depressed right now," Auenmuller said. "There are increased raw material costs on the one side, but a very depressed market on the other."

Moxie Industries manufactures and markets vitamins, minerals, food supplements and other nutritional food products as well as natural cosmetics.

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