According to The Associated Press, drugmaker Merck & Co. announced Thursday that it is closing eight manufacturing plants and eight research sites around the world. The Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, company has been strategically restructuring its operations since its acquisition of Schering-Plough Corp. last November for $41 billion. After the acquisition, Merck became the world’s second-biggest drugmaker by revenue.
The latest plans do not include new closures in New Jersey, beyond the closures already planned for Roseland, Union, and Lafayette. The company has said that it will eventually eliminate 15 percent of the combined workforce, or around 16,000 jobs. Merck says that despite the restructuring and closures, it is still continuing to hire employees for strategic growth areas. Merck says its goals are to diversify, focus on patient needs, and invest in biologic drugs, emerging markets, and other key areas for future growth. At the same time, it is seeking to reduce manufacturing costs.
The plants Merck plans to close or sell include two in Europe, two in Mexico, two in South America, and one in Singapore. The company also plans to sell a plant located in Miami Lakes, Florida. Last November, Merck had a total of 91 plants. After the latest closures or sales, Merck will have 77 manufacturing plants. Twenty-nine of those remaining are part of a pending joint venture with Sanofi-Aventis, which would create the world’s largest maker of animal health products.
Merck will also phase out operations at eight research sites over the next two years. They include one research station near Cambridge, Massachusetts, three in the Netherlands, three elsewhere in Europe, and one in Canada. Merck will be left with 16 major research and development facilities worldwide. Merck’s goal is to create a flexible research and development organization that can successfully produce innovative new products that will be approved by government drug regulators.
Drugmaker Merck closing 8 plants, 8 research sites (The Associated Press)