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Business

Berlin Worried About Aventis Takeover

Germany’s economics minister expressed concern Wednesday that a proposed takeover of French pharmaceutical maker Aventis SA could lead to a loss of German jobs. At the same time Wolfgang Clement said he is not hoping for a "white knight" to save Aventis from rival Sanofi-Synthelabo SA. Berlin fears that the 9,000 Germans employed by Aventis would be laid off if the takeover goes through. Clement said he had raised the issue with France, but he played down Berlin’s involvement in the affair. "We have no possibility other than to make the problems clear, publicly and privately," the minister told reporters. Clement denied an earlier report that Germany was helping to find a "white knight" for the French-based company. "If shareholders decide on a takeover, then I hope that the German site and its interests will be taken into account," he said. A spokesman for Chancellor Gerhard Schröder said the issue could play a role in a scheduled Feb. 9 meeting between the German leader and French President Jacques Chirac.