Amgen confirms the $1B Ireland plant it postponed 7 years ago will not get built

In case anyone was wondering if U.S. drugmaker Amgen ($AMGN) intended to build that €820 million ($1.1 billion) plant in Cork County, Ireland, that it put on hold 7 years ago, well it ain't going to happen. Not now, not ever.

Actually, Cork County Councillor Noel Collins was wondering just that, and last year wrote to the biotech to inquire whether it harbored any plans for the site. He said he received a lengthy reply that said "the company has no plans to resume investment there."

The plant was to be a big deal at one time, a $1.1 billion project slated to provide 1,100 jobs to the area. But according to news reports at the time, the drugmaker abandoned its plans in 2007 when changes in Medicare reimbursement hurt its revenues and announced it would lay off more than 10% of its workforce. The Irish Examiner says in 2009 the company asked the Industrial Development Authority (IDA) in Ireland to reserve the 188-acre site in case it wanted it in better times.

Instead of resurrecting its plans for Cork, the company in 2011 bought a plant near Dublin that Pfizer ($PFE) was abandoning, saving 240 jobs in the process. The 37,000-square-meter Pfizer facility in Dun Laoghaire gave it an aseptic processing facility with freeze-dry product and liquid vial filling, as well as laboratories, warehouse, packaging capabilities and a bioprocessing suite.

Collins told the newspaper that it was disappointing news, particularly given the loss of jobs in the area, but it provides the impetus for the IDA to begin marketing the site to other possible buyers. "It's yet another industrial site growing weeds while so many young people are unemployed or having to emigrate," Collins said.

- read the Irish Examiner story