Merck delays closure of Dutch ops

Merck ($MRK) has extended until mid-February from Dec. 31 a deadline to determine the fate of some of its Dutch operations. And one possible alternative is the sale of the R&D site, Reuters reports. According to the drugmaker, the extension will give the various parties involved extra time to consider alternatives for two facilities, which were previously part of Organon BioSciences in the Netherlands.

This isn't the first time Merck has put off closing the plants. Back in September, the drugmaker said it would postpone closing some of its operations in the Netherlands until Dec. 31, giving it time to work up potential alternatives. In agreeing to negotiate, Merck staved off a scheduled court case.

Merck has been restructuring its global operations in the wake of its merger with Schering-Plough, which bought Organon in 2007 for roughly $14 billion. Merck's shutting down manufacturing plants and R&D facilities in several countries and laying off thousands of workers in the process. The Netherlands shutdowns were expected to claim 2,175 of 4,500 jobs.

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