Boehringer Ingelheim

Based: Ingelheim, Germany
Announced layoffs: 900

Because Germany's Boehringer Ingelheim is privately held, and so is not required to be transparent with its finances, it is a bit more difficult to get a good fix on its layoff plans. Officials at the company refuse to provide many specifics.

The company did say last year that in the face of falling revenues--pharma sales were off 5% in the first half of the year--it was looking for a 15% cost reduction in Germany and would look to further cut costs around the globe. It was suggested that because the number of workers in Germany had grown at that point by 950 in a year, that the ax would fall hardest there, but didn't say if it had to cut by a like number. In the fall, the company did say it was trying to eliminate between 500 and 600 jobs in Germany through attrition.

But there have been other layoffs around the system. It sold a plant in Petersburg, VA, with 240 employees, at the end of last year to Chinese API maker UniTao Pharmaceuticals. Employees there were told they would get a chance to reapply for their positions with UniTao, but since then the Chinese company has said that it has decided not to reopen the plant until "business conditions improve."

There has also been an acknowledgement that some employees at the drugmaker's U.S. headquarters in Ridgefield, CT are being let go, a move the company said would affect about 2% of the 2,700. That would be another 55, and it begins to look like about 900 jobs lost for the year. But the company has more than 47,000 employees worldwide, so chances are there have been losses elsewhere in its system that have escaped notice.

The company has been upfront about the reasons. Net sales were down €358 million, a 3% decline to €6.5 billion (about $8.7 billion) in the first 6 months of last year. Sales of drugs were off 5.4% to €4.8 billion (about $6.4 billion). That came after it lost patent protection at the first of the year for its blockbuster hypertension drug Micardis. Also telling about the German company's fiscal situation is that about a third of its drug sales come from COPD treatment Spiriva. And Boehringer is now facing some issues with sales of it since India recently revoked its patent there on a challenge from Indian drugmaker Cipla.

-- Eric Palmer (email | Twitter)

For more:
Boehringer Ingelheim cutting jobs in 15% cost reduction move
Boehringer trims Connecticut workforce as sales suffer
Chinese company balks on reopening Boehringer plant
Boehringer Spiriva patent revoked in Cipla challenge in India

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