Bausch + Lomb open €85m facility three years after closure threat

Global eye health company Bausch + Lomb’s base yesterday opened an €85m facility in Waterford, three years after the company was on the verge of closing its base and shedding 1,100 employees.

Photo: At the opening of the Bausch + Lomb extension in Waterford are, from left, Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Joseph C Papa, chairman and chief executive of Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl (B+L parent company), and Damain Finn, Bausch + Lomb. Picture: John Power

A further 125 jobs were also confirmed, bringing the company’s total employment to 1,300 in the south-east.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald officially opened the facility amid growing demand for the business’s disposable contact lenses.

Mr Varadkar said that the investment was a “big vote of confidence in this Government’s ambitions for Waterford and for the future”.

“Bausch + Lomb and its parent company Valeant are to be commended for their commitment to the south-east region,” he said.

“This Government is determined to show over the next few months and years that we can not only continue to stimulate growth but that we are able to spread the benefit across the entire country.”

Ms Fitzgerald said it was a “terrific boost” for the south-east area to have “a project of this magnitude, in a high tech and high skilled sector”.

In 2014, Bausch + Lomb in Waterford was in trouble when the then new owners Valeant, a Canadian multinational, said there would be 200 job losses and up to 20% pay cuts for the remaining thousand or so staff.

Agreement was eventually reached with the unions on slightly lower pay cuts and the company agreed to invest in new facilities and an extension to the plant.

Joseph C Papa, chairman and chief executive officer of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, said that the enhancements made to the site will enable the company to meet increasing global customer demand for the Bausch + Lomb contact lens brand.

“Bausch + Lomb is one of the world’s most respected eye health brands, due in large part to the quality products manufactured at the Waterford site for the past 37 years,” said Mr Papa.

“With this extension at the Waterford site, we are not only building on that legacy but also investing for our future.

“The enhancements to the site will enable us to meet increasing global customer demand for the Bausch + Lomb Biotrue® ONEday contact lens brand, which was developed by our R&D team here at Waterford.”

Some 112,000 sq ft of building has been added to a 17-acre site adjacent to its current facility, bringing the complex size to 500,000 sq ft.


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