Sanofi mulls up to 2,000 job cuts in France, unions say

Sanofi is gearing up for thousands of job cuts in its home country. The French drugmaker ($SNY) has hatched a domestic reorganization, Le Figaro reports, that will claim jobs in R&D, vaccine manufacturing, and headquarters support functions. The Paris daily cites the union CFDT as its source for job-cut numbers: 1,000 to 2,000, with final numbers set by September.

The company confirmed its restructuring plans for France, but wouldn't put a number to layoffs. Talking numbers would be "premature," Sanofi's president in France, Christian Lajoux, told Le Parisien after a works council meeting earlier today.

Patent losses have hit Sanofi's sales, and while CEO Christopher Viehbacher has been engineering deals to fill in the gaps, he has also led a charge against costs. As part of worldwide restructuring designed to save 2 billion euros ($2.5 billion), the company laid off thousands of workers worldwide from 2009 to 2011. That includes 4,000 jobs in France, Le Figaro says.

In September, Viehbacher announced another multibillion-dollar cost-cutting plan. Word was that its sales force was in for more streamlining, after 3,800 previous job cuts. R&D operations would lose hundreds of positions, too. Since then, the company has shed jobs in the United States and Europe; manufacturing plants and R&D facilities have cut a hundred or so at a time. The newly sharpened ax has spared France till now.

- read the Le Figaro story
- get more from Reuters
- see the Le Parisien piece

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