Employees 2013: 51,500
Employees 2012: 51,700
% Change: -0.39
Revenues 2013: $27.71 billion
Revenues per employee 2013: $499,242.72
At the beginning of 2013, it appeared AstraZeneca ($AZN) might not even make this year's list. However, with a cumulative loss of an estimated 200 employees, the U.K.-based company managed to clinch the final spot.
Despite cutting over 5,000 jobs in one of the largest cuts of 2013, CEO Pascal Soriot has added almost as many employees with a series of acquisitions including the $4.1 billion buyout of Bristol-Myers Squibb's ($BMY) diabetes division, which added about 4,100 jobs.
Also causing turmoil in the workforce was the reshuffling that relocated the company's global headquarters to Cambridge, U.K., and caused initial layoffs of around 1,600 as it shut down other U.S. and U.K. plants. 2013 was Soriot's first full year at the helm, and he remains optimistic despite the recent trends. He puts faith in Brilinta, a blood thinner in the midst of a comeback, and the company's expanded diabetes portfolio to turn fortunes around.
Still, AstraZeneca maintained a downward spiral as its profits, which fell 17% in 2012, took an 8% nosedive in 2013, putting it at the bottom of this list. The company's blockbuster Crestor saw an 8% decrease in sales, while respiratory drug Symbicort increased by 10%. The company has a healthy pipeline of new products.
Those factors, falling revenues but promising upside, made it a prime target for a takeover, and Pfizer ($PFE) decided AstraZeneca presented it with a chance at both some new drugs and a lower EU tax rate. It pleaded its case, but by appealing to U.K. pride and investor uncertainty, AstraZeneca was able to push off Pfizer's advances, starting with a bid of about $101 billion in April and subsequent offers climbing to $119 billion. Although the advances were rebuffed, some analysts think Pfizer will persist in its efforts. If successful, Pfizer will probably rise a few spots on this list and AstraZeneca will depart permanently.
Special Report: AstraZeneca - The top 10 largest pharma layoffs in 2013
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