Pharmaceutical giant sheds 25 jobs at Co Clare plant

PHARMACEUTICAL giant Roche yesterday announced 25 redundancies at its Co Clare plant, as part of a global restructuring that will result in the loss of 4,800 jobs.

The 242 workers at the Clarecastle plant were informed by management yesterday of the cuts, while management at the group’s Citywest site in Dublin confirmed that it is reviewing its own local business strategy, confirming only that the small number of vacancies at Citywest, where 73 people are employed, will not be filled.

The reductions outlined yesterday by the group “is in response to future lower production demand, which aims to optimise operating efficiencies across the Roche group worldwide” according to a statement.

Along with the 4,800 job losses, Roche is to transfer 700 positions to third parties and 800 posts internally, resulting in a total of 6,300 jobs being affected. The restructuring will result in annual savings of €1.7bn.

Managing director at the Roche site in Clarecastle, Sven Hauptmann, said yesterday: “We deeply regret that we have had to propose these redundancies.

He added: “We have a long-standing relationship with the community in Clarecastle and beyond, and we know that today’s announcement will impact on our colleagues, their families and the wider community.

“In the future, our efforts to increase operational efficiency will strengthen our ability to deliver on our strategy of bringing important medicines to patients and, therefore, enhance our role as a valuable part of Roche.”

Roche’s site in Clarecastle is a small molecule pharmaceutical production site, now one of just two similar sites in Roche following yesterday’s ‘Operational Excellence’ announcement.

Within the Roche product pipeline, half of the new molecular entities in late stage development are small molecules.

Last year, Roche Ireland Ltd went into the red, recording pre-tax losses of €3 million after revenues dropped by 19% from €92.5m to €74.5m.

However, a capital investment at the plant of €6.4 million last year resulted in the company commencing production of a new drug this year.

Asked if any jobs will be lost as a result of the review of the business strategy at Citywest, a Roche spokeswoman said: “We are not currently in a position to speculate on what further decisions will be made, but obviously any decisions that we do make will be communicated to employees before any media statement is made.”

Clare Fine Gael TD Joe Carey said yesterday that the joblosses at the Clarecastle plant “is both disappointing and also an economic body blow for the workers and their families”.

The Clarecastle native said: “I believe Roche in Clarecastle has a solid future through product development and manufacturing.

“There have been setbacks like this in the past and I would hope that the company can grow again in the future.

“I would be confident that the long-term viability of the Clarecastle Roche plant is secure into the future.”

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