Aventis To Divest Agricultural Business

November 17, 2000

1 Min Read
Aventis To Divest Agricultural Business

STRASBOURG, France--Aventis, manufacturer of the genetically modified corn StarLink, announced in a press release its plans to focus the company's R&D efforts on the pharmaceutical division and divest CropScience, Aventis' agricultural biotech division. The move comes only months after the first StarLink-contaminated product recalls and initial government hearings. In the statement, Aventis said the company will better position itself for growth through its pharmaceutical sector and that the split from the agricultural business will benefit both divisions. "It is best for both businesses to be separate as there are few synergies, in terms of research, between CropScience and pharmaceutical, particularly in biotech," said John Abrams, in corporate communications with Aventis. The company joins the ranks of others who have recently parted ways with their biotech divisions. Swiss drugmaker Novartis and AstraZenca based in London announced last year they would merge and spin off their agricultural biotech business, and Monsanto merged with Pharmacia & Upjohn earlier this year and carved the agricultural businesses into the Monsanto subsidiary.

CropScience's divestment has yet to be determined. The company suggested an initial public offering, developing a separate company under the name "Agreva." According to the statement, discussions were initiated with Schering AG, the minority shareholder (24 percent) of Aventis CropScience. However, French press reported later that Schering had no intention to buy-out the division, and the company aimed to "focus on pharmaceutical" and planned to pull out of agrochemical "in the long term." Aventis anticipates the divestiture will take place by the end of the year. In the interim, it still awaits a decision from the EPA on temporary approval for human consumption and is still tallying farmer reimbursements that may affect how eager buyers may be. For more information visit www.aventis.com.

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