Pfizer ($PFE) called employees at a plant in Ireland in for one of those dreaded announcements Wednesday, saying 150 of them would lose their jobs at the facility in Newbridge. The company says the cuts are needed as generic competition continues to eat away at its revenues. The move comes just two weeks after the U.S. drugmaker targeted a plant in Puerto Rico for closure.
According to the Belfast Telegraph, about 670 people work at the plant in County Kildare after 270 jobs were eliminated in the last several years. Pfizer Vice President Paul Duffy told the group that its operations in Ireland remain key to its manufacturing strategy--they just don't need as many employees. Pfizer currently has more than 3,200 people at a number of plants in Ireland. Union representative Frank Jones told the newspaper that "the pool of workers who will accept a voluntary redundancy package has been exhausted."
Pfizer has sold off units, cut back on its manufacturing network and rejiggered its operations in light of lost sales. In its third-quarter investor call, Pfizer execs said they expected to cut $500 million in costs this year. Pfizer lowered its full-year revenue forecast by $1 billion, to $51.8 billion, as it continues to feel the hurt from generic competition for Lipitor, as well as the patent loss for Viagra in Europe. The company recently said it would close a plant in Barceloneta, Puerto Rico, by 2017 but didn't know how many jobs would be lost there. CEO Ian Read last summer said the company would carve its operations into three units, two focused on "innovative" drugs and a third comprising what Read calls Pfizer's "value" business as it looks for new ways to compete.
Pfizer employees were not the only ones to get the layoff talk in the last few days. Cubist ($CBST) is laying off 177 employees in Jersey City, NJ, San Diego, CA, and in Canada, NJ.com reports. The cuts come after it recently closed on its $535 million buyout of Jersey City-based Optimer Pharmaceuticals ($OPTR). A spokeswoman told NJ.com that employees would be kept through the end of the year and that it was looking to see if any of them might be able to fill other jobs.