Aventis reforms hit by takeover bid

4 March 2004
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04 March 2004 | Geraint John

A hostile takeover bid threatens to frustrate a major reorganisation of purchasing at Franco-German pharmaceutical group Aventis.

Even without the bid, finding key staff to deliver the benefits of a new global category management structure had proved difficult, according to Kai Nowosel, head of global purchasing, commercial operations at Aventis.

But the ?46 billion bid by rival firm Sanofi-Synthelabo, currently going through the French courts, has made the task even tougher because a merger or acquisition could jeopardise jobs.

"Nobody wants to join a company that may be acquired," he told SM.

Speaking at an Ariba conference in Venice, Nowosel said he was looking for subject experts who could double the amount of spend touched in non-traditional purchasing areas such as marketing, and squeeze out extra savings of 20-30 per cent.

Nowosel's division is one of four created by an 18-month project to reorganise purchasing, due to be completed in July.

The goal is get to rid of duplicate purchasing in different parts of the company, to simplify the purchasing function to make it more effective, to upgrade purchasers' skills and to ensure that purchasing staff work much more closely with business unit managers.

Commercial operations has an annual spend of ?1.3 billion and a savings target this year of ?60 million.

But Nowosel believes that purchasers with the right skills can save a further ?50 million in areas such as advertising and print.



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