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I also brought HOE awhile ago. After seeing the stock movement for Novartis immediately following the merger of CIBA and Sandoz, I thought that the HOE stocks would go the same way. Probably not the soundest reasoning. Within days of my purchase, the analysts were stating that Hoechst had decided to join the Life Sciences movement too late. Then it started to seem that the merger between Hoechst and Rhone Poulenc would take several years. Having survived as an employee of Novartis following the rapid and well done CIBA/Sandoz merger, I knew that an extended merger period would be extremely deleterious to profits for both Hoechst and Rhone Poulenc. However, since my investment philosophy has always been buy and hold, I decided to hang in there. The good news is that it now looks as though Aventis will be a real corporation by the end of this year. Unfortunately the bad news is that the very concept of a Life Sciences corporation is being challenged. The analysts are stongly suggesting that the Life Sciences companies need to get rid of their agricultural components and concentrate solely on the much more profitable pharmaceuticals. The farm economy is currently in the pits. When the AG customer is strapped for cash, they cut back or eliminate their chemical purchases. The pharmaceutical customers don't have a similar choice. The original idea for the Life Sciences companies was that new active chemicals could be screened for human, animal and plant biologies in synergy. If the synergies are not really there, then the AG and Pharma components should split back apart. If this starts to happen in the current Life Sciences corporations, then what will happen to newly formed Aventis? I don't know the answer to this yet.

Personally I'll keep my HOE stock for now since I really haven't lost money on it yet (of course I haven't made any money on it either) and wait to see what happens to the current Life Sciences companies. If I see them start to split off their AG divisions, then I may have to re-evaluate my long term hold policy.
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