lunes, 28 de marzo de 2011

ROCHE: Perder el control...

The Swiss family that has controlled drug giant Roche Holding AG for decades said one family member has dropped out of the group's voting pool, meaning that the family pool has lost majority voting control of the company.

The voting pool, which unites the publicity-shy descendents of company founder Fritz Hoffmann-La Roche, now hold 45.01% of Roche votes following the exit of Maja Oeri, a philanthropist and art patron. That's down from 50.01%, the family said in a statement Thursday.

While the news is unlikely to have an immediate effect on Roche's future, it came as a surprise to analysts and bankers who follow the company. Roche's 113 billion Swiss-franc ($124 billion) market value makes it one of the industry's biggest companies.

Ms. Oeri "decided to leave the pool ... [and] will exercise her shareholder rights independently," according to the statement, which Ms. Oeri also signed.

The statement stressed that both the pool and Ms. Oeri remain committed to Roche's independence.

"Even though it no longer holds a voting majority, the pool remains by far the most significant shareholder," the statement said. "It remains committed in the long term to the overall interests of the company with headquarters in Basel and to this company's independence. Maja Oeri, as a major individual shareholder with 5 % of the voting rights, also continues to share this view."

Neither the pool members nor Ms. Oeri could be reached to comment further. Ms. Oeri has funded a variety of museums and art initiatives in Switzerland, and is a trustee of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

The existence of the family shareholding pool has shielded the drug maker, based in Basel, Switzerland, from takeover attempts in the past. When cross-town rival Novartis AG bought a major stake in Roche in 2001, the pool vehemently opposed the idea of a merger. Novartis currently holds about 33.3% of Roche's voting stock.

Since then, Roche has become considerably larger, by acquiring full control of U.S. biotech company Genentech Inc for $46.8 billion. Novartis, meanwhile, is busy digesting the eye-care company Alcon Inc., which it bought in several stages for about $52 billion.

The Roche family pool has been in place since 1948. With the departure of Maja Oeri, it now includes Vera Michalski-Hoffmann, Maja Hoffmann, André Hoffmann, Andreas Oeri, Sabine Duschmalé-Oeri, Catherine Oeri, Jörg Duschmalé, Lukas Duschmalé and the charitable foundation Wolf.

A Roche spokesman said: "We consider this news very positive that the Hoffmann and Oeri families remain in the new constellation as long-term shareholders." Roche is the industry's largest seller of cancer medications, including the blockbuster drugs Avastin, Herceptin and Rituxan. It is also the world's largest biotechnology company by sales and market capitalization.(Ver)

Y yo ahora pienso que...todo es posible ya en Basilea.

Ver también

Dinero (pharma) en Suiza...(I):Daniel Vasella / Familia Hoffman( Roche)/Sandoz...

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