Bayer to close vet med plant, lay off 130

Bayer had hoped to sell a veterinary med plant in Missouri that it picked up a few years ago from Teva. But no one has come forward, so the German drugmaker will close the plant and lay off 130 people.

Bayer said production would continue through midyear, The Kansas City Star reported. It will shift production of the DVM and Expert Care lines manufactured there to other plants and discontinue the other products manufactured there, although sales of them will continue until the inventory is depleted.

The company will leave open a distribution center at the site in St. Joseph, about 60 miles north of Kansas City, MO, but close a fluids facility and R&D center as well as the manufacturing plant.

Bayer got the site from Teva Pharmaceutical Industries ($TEVA) in 2012 when it picked up Teva's entire animal health operation in a $145 million deal that included only $60 million upfront and then $85 million in milestone payments dependent on the business hitting both manufacturing and sales targets. At that time, about 300 people worked at the plant.

Bayer said in February it was putting the site up for sale but wouldn't indicate how long it would wait to find a buyer. It said Tuesday that a changed market had left it with excess capacity, and so it decided to close the plant. Bayer at one point was rumored to be offering to trade its animal health operations to Merck ($MRK) as part of a deal to get Merck's consumer health unit and then to be considering buying Novartis's animal health business to expand. Instead, Bayer bought Merck's OTC unit outright for $14.2 billion and Eli Lilly ($LLY) bought the Novartis ($NVS) operations.

- here's the Kansas City Star story