France's CFDT union blasts Sanofi's grab for Aventis
26 January 2004 17:42 [Source: ICIS news]
PARIS (CNI)--French trade union CFDT on Monday blasted the hostile takeover bid by French pharmaceuticals company Sanofi-Synthelabo for its larger rival Aventis as an attack that will end in a "lose-lose" result for all concerned.
The CFDT's pharmaceuticals branch, which describes itself as the leading body representing workers in the two firms, denounced the Sanofi-Synthelabo's move and warned it was establishing a task force to monitor developments.
Sanofi's offer of around Euro47bn ($60bn) was quickly rejected
by Franco-German life sciences group Aventis.
However, while the union voiced its opposition to the proposed takeover, French Economy and Finance Minister Francis Mer described the move as a "rather positive" step.
CFDT spokesman Gilbert Piton argued, however, that workers in both firms had to fear the likelihood of major job cuts - most likely well into thousands. Sanofi employs around 12 500 staff in France and Aventis about 13 500.
Piton added that it was feared that Sanofi's hostile bid could bring in a "white knight" which, most likely, would be a foreign pharmaceuticals group. An escalating battle would only deliver a "lose-lose" result for the companies and workers, he said.
A source close to both companies also saw the emergence of a rival bidder for Aventis as a possibility. While he did not exclude the possibility of Sanofi's hostile bid proving successful, he also did not discount the likelihood of the 'face-off' turning into a friendly offer. This was because a counter-offer by Aventis for Sanofi was not on the cards, he said, due to the strength of the French drugs group's two key shareholders - French energy and chemicals group Total and compatriot personal care products firm L'Oréal.By: Doris Leblond+44 20 8652 3214
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