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Knoll AG: Pharma business sold for $6.9 billion:


BASF (NYSE: BF) is focusing on the strengths of its portfolio in order to broaden its base for further profitable growth. That is why the world's biggest chemical company is selling its pharmaceuticals operations for $6.9 billion to Abbott Laboratories headquartered in Abbott Park, Illinois, USA. An agreement to this effect was signed on December 14, 2000. The board of executive Directors and the supervisory board of BASF and the Board of Directors of Abbott Laboratories have approved the arrangement. The agreement covers all German and international operations of BASF Pharma and is subject to approval by regulatory agencies and customary closing conditions. The transaction is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2001.

Dr. Jürgen F. Strube, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF Aktiengesellschaft: "We are shaping our future through innovative chemistry, our highly efficient Verbund system and our global presence. This is being supplemented by a growing position in agricultural products and oil and gas." After the sale of its pharma business, BASF will generate more than half of its sales in cyclically resilient operations. BASF achieves more than two-thirds of its sales in business units that are one of the top three competitors in their particular market. BASF wants to further increase the proportion of its top-three positions.

With the sale of its pharmaceuticals business, BASF is extending its scope for further growth. "Our main objective is profitable growth", said Strube. "The proceeds from the sale will give us the ability to strengthen our core businesses through investments and focused acquisitions. Additional major goals are the ongoing and future share buy-back programs and the reduction of financial indebtedness."

BASF Pharma employs approximately 10,700 people worldwide and is expected to achieve sales of about 2.6 billion euros in 2000. The unit operates in the fields of metabolic diseases (e.g. thyroid disease, obesity), cardiovascular diseases, immunology and pain therapy. Its important products include Synthroid® for the treatment of thyroid insufficiency, Isoptin® for coronary heart disorders, Rytmonorm®/Rythmol® for arrhythmia and Reductil®/Meridia® for the management of obesity. BASF Pharma has an excellent research and development pipeline. Pharmaceuticals that are in the process of being launched or are in advanced phases of clinical development have a significant sales potential.

Excellent Strategic Fit

"Our acquisition of BASF's pharmaceutical business, known as Knoll, is an excellent strategic fit that demonstrates Abbott's commitment to our global pharmaceuticals business and offers significant synergies," said Miles D. White, chairman and chief executive officer of Abbott Laboratories. "Knoll enhances

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