Lonza exec gets Visp plant 'challenge': Find $100 million

A former Lonza executive who recently returned to the giant drug ingredient maker has been handed the task of remaking operations at the Swiss company's massive plant in Visp, Switzerland.

Called the "Visp Challenge," by CEO Richard Ridinger, it is part of the company's plans to improve margins by becoming more efficient, Outsourcing Pharma reports. The challenge is for the effort to generate $102 million in savings and new business in three years.

Beat In-Albon was named in June to head Lonza's life science ingredients sector. He returns to Lonza after leading the organic fine and performance chemicals unit of SGS. The job is to reduce costs at the facility and increase production utilization while keeping high quality, Ridinger has said.

"So you have a quite mixed picture and I found the situation that I needed a top manager to take over with full responsibility to make this site more profitable and lead it into the future and I am happy that we could win Beat In-Albon," Ridinger tells the publication.

Ridinger joined Lonza from BASF SE in May with the goal of trimming both manufacturing and administrative costs after Lonza's $1.35 billion acquisition last year of U.S.-based Arch Chemicals. The debt for that deal has to be paid in the next three years, Bloomberg says. 

In addition to the Arch Chemicals deal, Lonza has expanded in a number of places around the world, including Asia, but Ridinger says now is time to tighten up all of those assets. It also has been addressing issues. It says in its earnings release that it has dealt with FDA concerns listed in a warning letter last year for its plant in Hopkinton, MA, and made improvements at a Custom Manufacturing Biologics facility in Singapore.

"We have to look at our global asset footprint," Ridinger tells Bloomberg, while declining to say if there will be job cuts as part of the process. "A lot of players have been bought and sold, it's up to us now to form a team and return to the champion's league."

- here's the Outsourcing Pharma article
- see Lonza's earnings release 
- get more from Lonza 
- read the Bloomberg story 

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