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Hoechst AG

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Title: Hoechst AG  
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Subject: IG Farben, Rhône-Poulenc, American IG, Sanofi, Vijay Mallya
Collection: Chemical Companies of Germany, Companies Based in Frankfurt, Defunct Companies of Germany, Ig Farben, Sanofi
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Hoechst AG

The former Hoechst AG and today's Industriepark Höchst

Hoechst AG (German pronunciation: ) was a German chemicals then life-sciences company that became Aventis Deutschland after its merger with France's Rhône-Poulenc S.A. in 1999. With the new company's 2004 merger with Sanofi-Synthélabo, it became a subsidiary of the resulting Sanofi-Aventis pharmaceuticals group.


  • History 1
  • World War II 2
  • Timeline 3
  • Key Figures 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Building and operating licence for the chemical plant Meister, Lucius & Co. by the administration of the Duchy of Nassau in 1862

The company was founded in 1863 as "Teerfarbenfabrik Meister, Lucius & Co." in Höchst, near Frankfurt and changed its name some years later to "Teerfarbenfabrik Meister Lucius & Brüning". In 1880 it became a stock company "Farbwerke vorm. Meister Lucius & Brüning AG". For the international market the name was simplified to "Farbwerke Hoechst AG". Until 1925 the Hoechst AG was independent. In 1916, the Hoechst AG was one of the co-founders of IG Farben, an advocacy group of Germany's chemicals industry to gain industrial power during and after World War I. In 1925, IG Farben turned from an advocacy group into the well-known conglomerate.

World War II

Various Hoechst facilities were bombed during the Oil Campaign of World War II. Its managers in charge were defendants, as were the other IG Farben managers, in the Nuremberg trial against the company for its role in the exploitation of enslaved laborers and for testing drugs on concentration camp prisoners. [1]


1951 - Hoechst AG was re-founded on December 7 in Frankfurt when IG Farben was split into its founder companies. The original capitalization of the company was 100,000 Deutsche Mark. By 1953 Hoechst had acquired parts of Knapsack-Griesheim, Kalle AG, Behring Werke, Wacker Chemie and Ruhr Chemie, among others.[2]

1969 - Hoechst acquired Cassella.[2]

1987 - Hoechst acquired the American chemical company Celanese and formed a new Hoechst subsidiary in the US, Hoechst Celanese.

1994 - The U.S. National Right to Life Committee announced a U.S. boycott of all Hoechst pharmaceutical products including Altace because of the abortion pill RU-486.

1994 (September 17) - Pharmacists For Life International joins the international boycott, "...against the American subsidiary of Hoechst, AG Hoechst-Roussel, Hoechst-Celanese, its generic subsidiary Copley Pharmaceutical, Inc. and the agricultural Hoechst subsidiary" while asking U.S. consumers to "focus on key Hoechst drugs which have the most economic impact rather than taking an across-the-board shotgun approach" and specifically listing Altace as a boycott list item.[3]

1995 - Hoechst merges with Marion Merrell Dow of Kansas City, Missouri forming U.S. subsidiary Hoechst Marion Roussel (HMR). Altace was bringing in under $90 million in revenues for Hoechst and Hoechst had stopped promoting Altace within the United States.[4]

1995 - The King Pharmaceuticals President Jefferson "Jeff" Gregory first begins negotiations with Hoechst to acquire U.S. distribution rights to Altace.[4]

1997 - Hoechst underwent a realignment wherein its various businesses were transferred to independent companies, including Nutrinova and Clariant.[5]

1997 (April 2) - The pro-life group Concerned Women For America announces at a National Right To Life Committee press briefing at the National Press Club that the anti-RU486 boycott against the U.S. subsidiaries of Hoechst AG & Roussel Uclaf by the NRTLC "...will be more narrowly focused onto the HMR prescription drugs Allegra, Cardizem, Seldane, Claforan, Lasix, Diabeta, and Nicoderm" - and Altace is auspiciously no longer included by Concerned Women For Americas as a boycotted Hoechst Marion Roussel product.[6]

1998 (December 18) - The King Pharmaceuticals wholly owned subsidiary Monarch Pharmaceuticals, Inc. acquires ownership of U.S. distribution rights to Altace and other Hoechst products from Hoechst AG subsidiary Hoechst Marion Roussel of Kansas City, Missouri.[7]

1999 (December 7) - Hoechst and Rhone-Poulenc Settle Federal Trade Commission charges that merger would violate U.S. antitrust laws;

1999 - Aventis was formed when Hoechst AG merged with Rhône-Poulenc S.A. The merged company was headquartered in Strasbourg, Eastern France. As part of the merger, the company demerged many of its industrial businesses into Celanese, which became an independent company again (e.g. the Engineering Polymers business Ticona).

2005 - The company became a wholly owned subsidiary of Sanofi-Aventis (now called Sanofi).[8]

Key Figures

Wilhelm Meister (1827–1895) founded the chemical company Teerfarbenfabrik Meister, Lucius & Co. which eventually became Hoechst AG. He was the great-grandfather of William von Meister, one of the founders of Control Video Corporation which later became America Online. Pascal Soriot (the now-chief executive of AstraZeneca) held positions with the organisation from 1989 up until 2006 through Aventis.


  1. ^ Stephan H. Lindner. Inside IG Farben: Hoechst During the Third Reich. New York. Cambridge University Press, 2008. 
  2. ^ a b Fred Aftalion (1991). A history of the international chemical industry. trans. Otto Theodor Benfey. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 247.  
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b - Magazine Article
  5. ^ Anna Bálint: Clariant clareant. The beginnings of a specialty chemicals company, Campus Verlag, Frankfurt am Main/New York 2012, ISBN 978-3-593-39374-2.
  6. ^ Concerned Women for America - Boycott of New Drug 'Allegra' Aimed at Protecting Women & Children From Dangers of RU-486.
  7. ^
  8. ^ , Undated, Sanofi-Aventis Deutschland corporate websiteHoechst GmbH, ein Unternehmen der sanofi-aventis Gruppe.Accessed 20 September, 2010.
  • Retrieved July 24, 2005.
  • Retrieved July 24, 2005.

Stephan H. Lindner. Inside IG Farben: Hoechst During the Third Reich. New York: Cambridge University Press.

  • "Faith Healers: The born-again Gregory brothers worked a financial miracle from cast-off drug brands." Forbes. Zina Moukheiber. October 28, 2002.
  • "Monarch Pharmaceuticals acquired." sanofi-aventis Group. December 18, 1998.
  • "Pharmacists For Life Joins International Boycott." Life Communications, vol. 4, no. 19. November, 1994.
  • "Boycott of New Drug 'Allegra' Aimed at Protecting Women & Children From Dangers of RU-486." Concerned Women For America. April 2, 1997.

External links

  • Archive site
  • Sanofi Aventis site
  • Aventis Foundation
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