GSK opens expanded operations, adds 55 jobs, in Scotland

GlaxoSmithKline CEO Andrew Witty

Four years ago, GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) promised to make more than £500 million in manufacturing operations in the U.K. after the government made changes to its tax code. In addition to building a new plant in England, the drugmaker agreed to put about £280 million into its two plants in Scotland. The first phase of that expansion is now operating, creating 55 jobs in the process.

The U.K. drugmaker Monday announced it had kicked off production at expanded facilities at its antibiotics site in Irvine, North Ayrshire, where a £70 ($98.8 million) investment allowed it to increase capacity about 35%. The company got a grant of £1.5 million from the government to help offset the cost, The Scotsman reports.

"This secures the long-term future of the site," GSK CEO Andrew Witty said in a statement. "The product that we produce here is exported to 140 countries."

A rendering of the API plant expansion in Montrose, Scotland--Courtesy of Doosan Babcock

But the work is not complete. The drugmaker also said another £200 million ($282.2 million) is slated to be invested in the site in Irvine and one in Montrose. The company a year ago started design work for the expansion of its API plant in Montrose, where GSK intends to manufacture three APIs for treating respiratory diseases like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Those projects are part of a much larger outlay that GSK promised in 2012 when it said it would invest more than more than £500 million in its U.K. manufacturing operations. The bigger projects includes a plant in Ulverston, Cumbria, its first new plant in the U.K. in about 40 years. In total, the company expects the investments will lead to the creation of 1,000 jobs in the U.K.

- here's the announcement 
- read the Scotsman story