27 April 2004
FRANKFURT – Thousands of German workers at Franco-German drugmaker Aventis demonstrated Tuesday for their jobs to be safeguarded following the all-clear for a merger with rival Sanofi-Synthelabo.
There are fears the deal, which will create the world’s third- largest drugs company, could lead to job losses among the Franco- German group’s 9,000 workforce in Germany.
Workers rallied outside Aventis Germany’s corporate headquarters in Frankfurt calling on the IG BCE trade union and works councils to protect German jobs.
“We expect a clear declaration for Germany,” said Michael Klippel of the Aventis Frankfurt works council.
The demonstration comes a day after Aventis accepted an improved EUR 55.3 billion bid from its smaller Paris-based rival.
Aventis had been fighting the hostile approach from Sanofi, but the revised offer was 14 percent higher than the first bid tabled by the group in February.
The agreement came after the French government became directly involved in the negotiations and after the French Finance Ministry said the merger was in the national interest.
The new group, to be called Sanofi-Aventis, will be Europe’s largest pharmaceutical company and the third largest in the world after the U.S. giant Pfizer Inc. and the British GlaxoSmithKline Plc.
Subject: German news