ROCHE PLANNING TO SEPARATE GIVAUDAN ROURE

PARIS — Swiss pharmaceuticals company Roche will spin off its flavors and fragrances division, Givaudan, to a separate company that it will then float independently on the Swiss Bourse next spring.
The move will be presented to Roche shareholders at the general assembly scheduled for May 9. If approved, each Roche shareholder will receive one share of the new Givaudan stock.
The business, which had been called Givaudan Roure, will maintain its headquarters in Vernier, Switzerland. Roche’s chief financial officer, Henri B. Meier, will be Givaudan’s chairman; Jurg Witmer remains chief executive officer.
Givaudan, which posted sales of $1.29 billion in 1998, has been the subject of divestiture speculation for more than two years.
Roche, like many European pharmaceuticals companies, is refocusing on its pharmaceuticals and health-related businesses.

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