GSK plans to unload site of closed Indian API plant

GlaxoSmithKline India Chairman D.S. Parekh

GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) closed an aging active pharmaceutical plant (API) in Thane, Maharashtra, India, a couple of years ago and let go of more than 300 people who worked there. Now, the British drugmaker would like to unload the property.

According to the Indian Express, GSK India Chairman D.S. Parekh told investors during the annual meeting last week that the company is cleaning up the 60-acre site and thinks it is worth between 1,600 crore and 1,800 crore ($264 million to $297 million). "We are doing remediation of the soil and when it is almost over we will try and sell the land if we can find a buyer during the next one year," Parekh said.

The plant first opened in 1961, but 50 years later it needed additional upgrades to operate. It had also become surrounded by a "mushrooming residential" area. Deciding it was no longer viable to keep it open, the drugmaker closed the facility in August 2012 and let the 330 employees go.

The company is still investing heavily in India, a market that CEO Andrew Witty has tagged as a growth driver. He announced last year that GSK would build a new plant in India. While the company said it hopes the facility will be open by 2017, Parekh said a site has not been settled on yet. "We have to look at which state gives us more tax concessions," he told the gathering, the Indian Express reported.

The drugmaker has said it will spend £85 million ($136.5 million) on a warehouse and plant where it expects to employ about 250 people. It will be large enough to produce up to 8 billion tablets and 1 billion capsules a year. The company said among the features it will employ in the new facility will be continuous processing. The new technology moves away from batch production, so it can be done in smaller facilities with lower operating expenses.

- read the Indian Express story