The Quebec-based company recently announced plans to sell its active ingredients and specialty chemicals division to AXA Private Equity in order to concentrate on its nutrition and health sector. Nonetheless sales in the division increased by 15.6 per cent on last year's quarter to reach $68m. Much of this increase is the result of the strong Euro positively impacting the company's European operations, however the company did state that organic growth due to western Canadian market development also boosted sales. In addition, net earnings for the division increased by 21.2 per cent to reach $6.5m. Acquisitions drive nutrition results The company's nutrition and health division however reported an 83.2 per cent rise in sales compared to previous year figures, with sales revenue reaching $65.8m for the quarter. Two major acquisitions made in the previous 12 month period, Mucos and MCO, were cited as being the main reason behind revenue increase. "We are satisfied with the strong financial results for the first quarter as the Mucos integration is going according to plan and as we experienced solid organic growth in the quarter," said company CEO Pierre Fitzgibbon. Focus on nutrition and health The acquisitions, and the selling off of the active ingredients and specialty chemicals division, are all part of Atrium Innovations' attempt to focus on its nutrition and health division. "The sale of the division at an attractive price will give us the means to execute our strategy to become the leader in high end nutritional supplements," added Fitzgibbon. The deal, which will see AXA Private Equity paying $155m for the division, was officially announced on April 4 and will be completed by mid May. The two companies have confirmed that once the transaction is finalized the division will remain in Quebec City and still be headed up by Charles Boulanger, with the back up of its existing management team. AXA says that the deal will attract further investment to help the division double in size during the course of the next five years, thanks mainly to organic sales growth and targeted acquisitions.