Sanofi-Aventis Shareholders Approve Name Change to ‘Sanofi’

Sanofi-Aventis SA (SAN) shareholders approved a proposal by the board to simplify the French pharmaceutical company’s name to “Sanofi.”

The new name will be simpler and easier to pronounce in some countries, Chief Executive Officer Chris Viehbacher said at the annual shareholder meeting in Paris today. The change will take effect today, the company said.

Sanofi, the maker of treatments such as Lovenox blood thinner and Lantus diabetes medicine, took its current form in 2004 following drug-industry consolidations dating back more than a decade. The Aventis portion of the name emerged from the 1999 combination of Frankfurt-based Hoechst AG and Paris-based Rhone-Poulenc SA of France. Sanofi-Synthelabo SA acquired the merged German-French company seven years ago.

The board decided on the change in part because a six- syllable name is difficult to pronounce in some countries, such as China, Jean-Marc Podvin, a spokesman for Paris-based Sanofi, said on April 1.

Sanofi, France’s largest drugmaker, is seeking to expand in emerging markets such as China and India. The company

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