End is near for Watson distribution center

The countdown to closing has begun on a Watson Pharmaceuticals ($WPI) distribution center in Ohio, as the company relocates operations to a smaller facility in Mississippi.

Anda, Watson's distribution arm, gave the state a heads-up that it will start with 55 of the 100 positions at the Groveport center and continue layoffs as it winds up operations by year's end, reports Columbus Business First.

More than 65% of its products were shipped from the 355,000-square-foot warehouse last year but with its lease ending and with some changes in the marketplace, it decided to build a smaller warehouse elsewhere. The plant originally served Watson and Andrx, a pharma company Watson bought in 2006. But the Andrx operations were moved to Illinois, and a nearby DHL Express hub closed, rendering the location less than ideal, Watson Vice President Charlie Mayr told Business First.

Watson did a search. Mississippi offered some financial enticement and so the company decided to build in Olive Branch, MS, where it will also be close to FedEx operations in Memphis, TN. The new distribution center, which is slated to open by the end of next month, is 234,000 square feet and will have about 70 workers.

The new facility will be "more appropriately sized for our current business model" than the Ohio site, Mayr told FiercePharmaManufacturing when the move was announced.

- read the Business First story