Bayer Animal Health plant closing next week leaving 120 without jobs

Bayer CEO Marijn Dekkers

The last day for most of 120 employees of a Bayer Animal Health operation in Missouri will be June 24. The company Wednesday confirmed the plant will close at the end of next week, less than a month after Bayer CEO Marijn Dekkers indicated he wanted to build Bayer's animal health business.

Bayer in March said it had intended to find a buyer for the St. Joseph site but then a month later said it would be closed instead as changing market conditions left it with more capacity than it needed. It didn't say at the time how soon the facilities would be shuttered. The company intends to move production of its DVM and Expert Care lines manufactured there to other plants and discontinue some products.

"A small crew of employees will remain on the site throughout the remainder of the year to handle final decommissioning procedures," Bayer spokeswoman Lauren Dorsch said to the News Press.

Bayer got the facility in 2013 in its acquisition of Teva Pharmaceuticals' ($TEVA) U.S. animal health business. About 300 people worked at the facilities then. The operation includes two manufacturing sites, a fluids facility and an R&D building. There also is a warehouse which Bayer will keep but which will now be operated by contractor, the News Press reports.

The German pharma company currently ranks fifth in the animal health market. But Dekkers last month told analysts that animal health is a "very attractive business for us," and that the company intended to invest in it. The company is getting ready to spin off its plastics business, a move that could raise some substantial cash for the drugmaker. Some analysts have suggested it might buy Zoetis ($ZTS), the former Pfizer ($PFE) animal health operation, which is the largest animal health company in the world but which is closing 10 manufacturing sites and laying off 2,500 employees, pushed by an activist investor to improve its stock price.

- read the News Press story