Sanofi to exit Bangladesh, reports say, leaving 1,000-plus jobs up in the air

Sanofi is moving to exit Bangladesh, according to local reports. (Lumenite / Shutterstock)

Sanofi's ready to say farewell to Bangladesh, local media reports, despite pleas from government officials to stay put.

After more than 60 years in the country, the drugmaker has notified the Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC)—which owns about 20% of the company’s local outfit—that it's planning to exit, the Financial Express reports.

BCIC officials are pressing Sanofi to stay, but the company's planning to move out for strategic reasons, The Daily Star reports. It could continue supplying medicines to Bangladesh through imports, according to the reports.

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As of 2016, Sanofi was the largest pharma company in Bangladesh with more than 1,200 employees there, according to a paper published in the International Journal of Business and Management. It operates a plant in Tongi, according to an SEC filing, and maintains a corporate office in Dhaka.

To make its exit, Sanofi aims to sell its approximately 55% share in the local company. The Bangladeshi government owns the remaining 45%, according to reports.  

“Across countries where Sanofi operates, we regularly assess the best ways in which to serve our customers and are currently evaluating different scenarios in Bangladesh," a Sanofi spokesman told FiercePharma.

"Sanofi always works closely and transparently with its stakeholders when any significant decisions are made," he added. "As a responsible company,  our employees’ interests will always remain our priority.”

The move follows GlaxoSmithKline’s Bangladesh exit last year; that company found the market “not sustainable,” according to the Financial Express report.

RELATED: GlaxoSmithKline closes Bangladesh manufacturing, cuts 1,000 workers 

For Sanofi, the reported exit also comes after the company sold its generics outfit Zentiva to Advent International for $2.2 billion last year. The generics company has a global manufacturing footprint and about 3,000 employees. Earlier this month, Advent bought a Sanofi manufacturing plant in India for $36.5 million.  

If Sanofi does in fact exit Bangladesh, it may well be one of the first moves authorized by new Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson. He took up the role at the beginning of this month, replacing Olivier Brandicourt, who retired. During his four-year CEO stint, Brandicourt worked to cut costs and refocus the company around five business units. 

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