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Swiss Drugs Giant Turns to Health and Nutrition

March 23, 1995

BASEL, Switzerland (AP) _ The Swiss drug and chemical company Sandoz AG said Thursday it plans to concentrate more on health and nutrition and will separate its chemicals business.

The company made its announcement as it revealed that 1994 net profits were 1.73 billion Swiss francs, or $1.48 billion, up 1.6 percent. Sales were 15.87 billion Swiss francs, or $13.6 billion, up 5 percent.

Sandoz, whose interests include pharmaceuticals, nutrition, seeds, chemicals, construction and environment, said several restructuring projects are now under consideration.

Last May, Sandoz boosted the size of its nutrition business substantially with the purchase of Gerber Products Co., the U.S. baby food company for $3.7 billion.

Sandoz Chemicals represents around 14 percent of total sales and makes dyes, pigments, additives, and specialty chemicals.

Alexandre Jetzer, a member of the company’s executive board, said management hasn’t decided exactly how it wants to make the chemicals business independent.

In the next few months, Sandoz will decide whether to sell the division to someone else or spin it off to the public in an offering of stock, Jetzer said.

The company said it is getting advice from Union Bank of Switzerland and S.G. Warburg of London.