AstraZeneca shuttering Bengaluru, India API plant, citing low demand

AstraZeneca ($AZN) has posted notification that it will close its API plant in Bengaluru, India due to low demand for the product being produced there.

In a filing with the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), the company said it made the decision to shutter the plant after it requested that the Drug Controller General of India withdraw the company's manufacturing license to produce terbutaline sulfate (TBS). The drug is typically used in inhalers to relieve and treat asthma symptoms.

The low demand for the product, which was the only one being produced at the facility, was cited as the reason for the closure.

"The board took this decision as TBS was the last API to be manufactured at the API unit and no other API manufacturing activity is planned to be carried out at this unit in the future," the company said in the filing.

Although the company didn't disclose what would happen to the employees working at the unit, it said its tablet manufacturing operation will continue to manufacture product at the location. The tablet facility opened in 2013 and has continued to ramp up to meet increasing supply requirements.

In an effort to trim its annual budget, AstraZeneca went on a job-cutting campaign in 2013. In early 2014, the pharma giant tagged on an additional 550 jobs to be trimmed on top of the 5,000 positions it had previously outlined.

Though it pulled out of R&D in Bangalore, India, the company said it planned to add about 300 IT jobs in the country by opening a $9 million IT facility in Chennai last year that was part of the company's global strategy to handle IT in-house versus outsourcing.

- read the BSE filing (PDF)