Having taken over rival Aventis, Sanofi-Synthelabo on Friday formally announced it had changed its name to Sanofi-Aventis.

Sanofi-Synthelabo said earlier this month it would push for 100% control of its former rival and newly-acquired subsidiary Aventis after the French Financial Market Authority confirmed the success of its controversial takeover offer.

Sanofi-Synthelabo now controls Aventis with 95.47% of the share capital.

The new group, with a scientific research budget of 4.2 billion euros, came into being despite weeks of fierce opposition by Aventis after the French government threw its weight behind the takeover, declaring it to be in France's strategic interest.

The French government's interventionist attitude was sparked by interest shown in Aventis by the Swiss drugs giant Novartis.