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RPR ANNOUNCES PLAN TO REPURCHASE UP TO 5 MILLION COMMON SHARES; ESTABLISHES TRUST TO FINANCE EMPLOYEE BENEFITS PROGRAMS

 COLLEGEVILLE, Pa., March 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Rhone-Poulenc Rorer (NYSE: RPR) announced its intention to repurchase up to 5 million of its common shares on the open market. The shares will be held by a flexible employee benefits trust to finance certain existing U.S. employee benefits which can include savings plan, stock plan, pension and healthcare programs. The trust will allocate or sell the shares over time for these programs. This transaction will provide RPR with an opportunity to satisfy obligations for employee programs in the future, but at today's stock prices.
 "The current valuation of pharmaceutical stocks due to uncertainty about healthcare reform has created an opportunity for RPR to repurchase its shares at an attractive price," said Patrick Langlois, senior vice president and chief financial officer. "We continue to believe that RPR's earnings potential, global management strategies and long-term growth prospects should enable it to continue to outperform the industry, and that its stock price should reflect this potential. We also believe that pharmaceutical stocks should return to an appropriate level of valuation as pharmaceuticals become recognized by the government and other healthcare purchasers as the most cost-effective and affordable solution to the challenge of ensuring high quality healthcare to all people worldwide."
 The share repurchase program will begin immediately, and the company expects to repurchase shares in the open market from time to time. RPR does not expect the establishment of the trust and stock repurchase transaction to have an effect on the company's existing credit quality. Due to the reduction of outstanding shares under accounting principles, the transaction is projected to have a modest positive impact on RPR's earnings per share over time.
 Rhone-Poulenc Rorer Inc. is a global pharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery, development, marketing and manufacturing of human pharmaceuticals. The company reported sales of $4.1 billion and invested more than $500 million in research and development in 1992.
 /delval/
 -0- 3/15/93
 /CONTACT: Jane Green, media relations, 215-454-3871, or Sue Mulholland, investor relations, 215-454-3851, both of Rhone-Poulenc Rorer/
 (RPR)


CO: Rhone-Poulenc Rorer ST: Pennsylvania IN: MTC SU:

LJ -- PH001 -- 5889 03/15/93 08:59 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 15, 1993
Words:354
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