Pfizer may announce $129M expansion in Belgium

A union official says Pfizer ($PFE) next week will announce a €100 million ($129 million) investment in its manufacturing campus in Puurs, Belgium.

Paul Schoeters of the ACV union tells the website that plans for a new manufacturing plant and packaging line have been submitted to the works council. He says about 100 new jobs are anticipated from the expansion, which will be announced at a ceremony next week to be attended by Jo Vandeurzen, the Flemish minister of welfare and public health. There are about 1,100 employees currently at Puurs.

Pfizer is in the midst of efforts to consolidate its extensive manufacturing and supply chain operations and has been closing plants throughout the world while establishing some areas as pivotal to a flexible manufacturing network. Late last year, John Kelly, VP for strategy, told that the transformed network would include aseptic manufacturing in Australia, Belgium, Italy and Michigan. It also would include solid-dosage plants in Germany, France, Italy, Ireland and Puerto Rico, and biotech operations in Ireland, Sweden, Spain, the U.K., Massachusetts and North Carolina.

But the company also has been closing facilities. It announced it will exit 13 sites. The company has sold two plants in Ireland and one in Virginia. It plans to end operations at 5 solid-dosage sites and convert another to consumer-healthcare operations and cut staff at facilities in Germany and Ireland, Kelly told the publication.

The closures are part of the significant adjustments the company is making in the face of patent losses, particularly to its blockbuster Lipitor, the most successful drug ever. But the company has continued to show interest in expanding manufacturing when opportunity presents itself. Just this week, it acknowledged plans for a small expansion in Indonesia. 

- check out the story