Baxter to erect $1B plasma plant

Baxter International ($BAX) will spend more than $1 billion on a new plant in Covington, GA, that will expand its plasma fractionation capacity by more than 3 million liters annually.

The company said construction will begin this year, and the facility is slated to be operational in 2018. Baxter expects the project will result in 1,500 jobs in Georgia but will lead to adding more than 2,000 total jobs across multiple locations.

For example, Baxter says in a release the project will require adding 200 manufacturing jobs to expand its filling and finishing capacity at its existing Round Lake, IL, manufacturing facility. Those positions will support production of Flexbumin, a preparation of plasma-based albumin treatment in a flexible container.

The announcement came as Baxter reported adjusted earnings of $569 million, or $1.01 per diluted share, exceeding its guidance of $0.98 to $1 per diluted share.

The Georgia manufacturing plant will include operations supporting plasma fractionation, purification, fill-finish and a testing lab.

It is no big surprise that Baxter is adding to capacity. It, along with Australia CSL and Spain-based Grifols, dominate the world's blood-plasma products, after Grifols last year netted U.S. rival Talecris Biotherapeutics in a $4.09 billion deal. That includes a U.S. market for plasma products estimated at $7 billion a year. 

- get the Baxter announcement
- here's the earnings statement