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Swiss pharmaceutical giants relaxed about Glaxo merger

The Swiss pharmaceutical companies, Roche and Novartis, say they are relaxed about the merger between Glaxo Wellcome and Smithkline Beecham. It will create the biggest pharmaceuticals group in the world, worth nearly 200 billion dollars.

This content was published on January 17, 2000 - 12:40

The big Swiss pharmaceutical companies, Roche and Novartis, say they are relaxed about the news of the merger between the two British giants, Glaxo Wellcome and Smithkline Beecham. It will create the biggest pharmaceuticals group in the world, worth nearly 200 billion dollars.

Novartis, which ranks sixth in the world, said it was strong enough to prosper on its own and denied it was under any pressure to do a strategic deal in response.

A company spokesman said medium-sized companies would continue to review their position but he said Novartis was developing the right drugs and marketing strategy to thrive.

Roche, ranked ninth, said it also felt no pressure to act after the news, but said it would consider a strategic deal if the right partner came along. But the company said it continued to place great store on internal growth.

The cool approach of the Swiss companies does not surprise Bank Leu trader, Eleanor Sharraz. "The effect of the British merger is minimal in the sense that Novartis is already a merged company and has been extremely disappointing because it hasn't followed at all the increase in the stock markets worldwide," she said.

"And Roche is one of the top dogs in the pharmaceuticals sector so no-one expects them to merge."

The merger of Glaxo Wellcome and Smithkline Beecham is still subject to regulatory approval in Europe and the United States.

By Michael Hollingdale

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