Life sciences company Rhone-Poulenc S.A. (NYSE: RP) fell $2 1/8 to $37 13/16 and pharmaceutical and chemical company Hoechst AG (NYSE: HOE) lost $1 1/2 to $37 7/8 after announcing that their Centeon joint venture will only restart production at its facility in Kankakee, Illinois, on products deemed "medically necessary" by the Food and Drug Administration. Production had been suspended following a recent FDA inspection. Centeon estimates that the cutback in production could lead to a net loss of $80 million to $150 million, which would be shared equally by the two parent companies. Besides the Centeon joint venture, Rhone-Poulenc said its businesses are "evolving in line with expectations" so far this year, but the company remains "cautious" for the rest of the year because of uncertainty in the global economic climate. Meanwhile, Hoechst warned that it expects a drop in 1998 earnings due to weakness in Asia, Latin America, and Russia.
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