Merck to reacquire sold-off plant

Merck (NYSE: MRK) is buying back a Pennsylvania manufacturing plant it sold to contract manufacturer PRWT Services in early 2008. Apparently, the CMO is getting out of the drugs business, and Merck needed the production lines at that facility. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but it's expected to close early next month, with a six-month transition period after that.

"Merck has had a long and successful history at the site," company spokesman Ronald Rogers explains, as quoted by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. "The products at the site are critical to our supply chain. Most importantly, they're critical to our customers. We felt it was important to ensure that the supply chain continues."

Merck is in the middle of a global restructuring in the wake of its merger with Schering-Plough. The company has announced plans to shut down eight plants worldwide, including one U.S. plant in Florida. The company adds that it plans to maintain the Pennsylvania plant's workforce of 454 employees, at least for now. But, one thing that won't change is the designation of certain parts of the facility as a Keystone Opportunity Zone. "I don't have any immediate concern. I know they've been doing well there and they've been adding contracts and adding jobs," says state Sen. John Gordner, as quoted by the paper, "so it'll be important to continue doing that."  

- read the McClatchy story