Baxter to shed 400 jobs at PR plant amid upgrades

Baxter International ($BAX) plowed millions into its Puerto Rican manufacturing operations last year. Now, its upgrade plans include a regional reshuffle, new automated production processes--and job cuts.

Baxter will eliminate 400 jobs at its Aibonito plant, which makes injectable drugs. That's a bit less than half of the 900 employees who worked at the facility at its peak, local officials said.

The layoffs will start with 100 positions in June, Mayor William Alicea said (as quoted by the Latin American Herald Tribune). They will continue over the next several years as Baxter shifts some operations to the Dominican Republic and automates production. Baxter will be spending millions to upgrade the plant with a new production line to make and pack IV solutions, the plant's local manager told Caribbean Business.

The company spent $2.5 million on the Aibonito plant last year. Another $35 million investment will be shared with its plant in Jayuya, Puerto Rico Industrial Development's Antonio Medina Comas told the business news site. "Baxter's new operations in Aibonito require more advanced, automated technology," Medina said.

In a January 2011 warning letter, FDA cited Baxter's Jayuya plant for failing to investigate batch failures, and the Jayuya and Guayama plants for failing to report product defects to the agency. In July of that year, FDA reported that the problems had been corrected.

- see the Caribbbean Business story
- read the LAHT piece

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