Novartis' Sandoz puts India plant on chopping block

Novartis CEO Joe Jimenez

Novartis ($NVS) CEO Joe Jimenez said in March that the company would have another go at significant cost cuts in the wake of its asset swap with GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK). Manufacturing was one area where it expected to tighten up, and a plant in India is now on the chopping block along with 170 jobs.

Its Sandoz generics unit will close the plant in Turbhe, Maharashtra, and lay off the workers by the end of next year, according to the the Hindu Business Line. The site manufactures active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and antibiotics. Sandoz said in a statement that it was transferring the work to other sites in the country. It has manufacturing facilities in Kalwe and Mahad, the newspaper said.

"We made the announcement today to ensure our associates are informed as soon as possible about our decisions and to ensure a transparent process," Vivek Devaraj, Sandoz Country Head in India, said in the statement.

Novartis swapped its vaccine unit to GSK for some cancer drugs and then the two set up a joint venture for consumer products. It also sold off its animal health business last year to Eli Lilly ($LLY) for $5.4 billion, all of which gives the Swiss company places to cut.

Roche ($RHHBY) and Sandoz are expanding manufacturing at other sites. In May, Sandoz opened a 171 million PLN ($46.9 million) packaging facility at its plant in Stryków, Poland, an addition that also allows it to expand its capacity there. The company said it had added 90 workers at the facility and expected to hire another 40. Parent Novartis is building a $150 million plant near St. Petersburg in Russia.

- read the Business Line story

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