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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Drug Giants to Merge

PARIS -- Two of Europe's largest drug makers, Hoechst of Germany and Rhone-Poulenc of France, announced Tuesday they are merging their pharmaceutical and agrochemical operations.

The new company will be called Aventis, said a statement released by the two companies. It is to be based in Strasbourg, in eastern France, where a press conference was to be held later Tuesday.

The agreement "launches the procedure for the first phase of a two-step plan which will eventually lead to a full merger of Hoechst and Rhone-Poulenc,'' the statement said.

With annual expected sales expected of about $20 billion, the new company would be tied for the No. 1 ranking with Switzerland's Novartis in the life-sciences sector.