So Aventis follows Novartis and dumps its
Of course, it doesn't make the problem go away but
it does say something about how these TCNs are losing faith themselves in the
Think StarLink might have had something to do with
11/15/00 FRANCE: AVENTIS TO SPIN OFF AGROCHEMICAL
BUSINESS, FOCUS ON PHARMACEUTICALS.
PARIS - Aventis SA said it has decided to
spin off its agrochemicals business in order to focus on pharmaceuticals.
Strasbourg-based company said its board approved the strategic retooling
Tuesday, under which Aventis CropScience - to be renamed Agreva - will be spun
off before the end of next year.
"Aventis will examine all possible
value-creating options," including the possible listing of Aventis CropScience,
the group said in a statement.
Aventis, the life-sciences group created last
year by the $25 billion merger of Germany's Hoechst AG and France's
Rhone-Poulenc SA, has opened talks with Germany's Schering AG, which has a 24%
stake in the agrochemicals unit, and "thinks it can strike an accord in the near
future," the group said.
"In realising this separation, Aventis should
increase its strategic flexibility, its visibility, and enhance the focus on
performance at both businesses," the group said.
Aventis (AVE) said the
merger of the pharmaceutical operations of Rhone Poulenc and Hoechst has made
great progress, with the business seeing steady growth and strong
Aventis has long been mulling the possible demerger of the
agrichemicals business, but as recently as two weeks ago said a decision was a
year to 18 months away.
Aventis CropScience is the world's second-biggest
company in its field, ranked behind Anglo-Swiss rival Syngenta, formed through
the merger of the agrichemical businesses of Novartis and AstraZeneca
Earlier this month, Aventis said third-quarter operating profit for
its agrichemical operations fell 2.8% to 59 million euros ($50.6 million) on a
6.8% rise in revenue to 992 million euros.
A shadow has been cast over the
business by the controversy over Starlink, a type of genetically modified corn
to kill insect pests, which was launched in the U.S. three years ago and
approved only for animal feed or industrial use.
But the discovery of tiny
amounts of Starlink in taco shells led to recalls by food producers and
disruptions in U.S. corn exports. That eventually resulted in the withdrawal of
Starlink from the U.S. market, and a blitz led by Aventis to buy up the entire
Starlink crop to avoid further potential contamination of corn approved for
Aventis said earlier this month that the net financial
impact of Starlink for Aventis would be significantly below $1 billion, and no
third-quarter provisions were made for possible costs related to Starlink in its
(Copyright (c) 2000, Dow Jones & Company, Inc.).
DOW JONES BUSINESS NEWS 15/11/2000
Friends of the Earth Europe
T. 32-2-542.0182, F.
"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual
power. We have guided missiles and misguided men". (Martin Luther