Merck KGaA manufacturing dodges worst of reductions

Merck KgaA's manufacturing will take a hit in today's announced restructuring, but not as badly as other functions as the German company carries through on the cuts it has been warning of for weeks.

The company is closing its Merck Serono headquarters in Geneva and will eliminate 500 positions and transfer another 750 to locations around the world. So, conceivably, if folks don't want to move from Geneva to, say, Bejing, the number of current employees leaving the company may be significantly larger.

It will eliminate 80 positions at manufacturing operations in Aubonne, Corsier-sur-Vevey and Coinsins in Switzerland. It is closing its manufacturing operations in Coinsins and relocating those functions to its facility in Aubonne, the company said today in a statement.

The company emphasized, however, that it will keep manufacturing in Switzerland, at its biotech production sites in Aubonne and Corsier-sur-Vevey (both in the Canton of Vaud). It says that of the 750 positions being transferred out of Geneva, 130 would be related to technical manufacturing operations and would move to the Aubonne area.

For months Merck has been saying it would do what other drugmakers have already undertaken, cutting its workforce to compensate for revenue declines as drugs fall off of patent and no good replacements have materialized. Analysts say the cost cuts are absolutely necessary, given increased competition for Merck's multiple sclerosis blockbuster Rebif and faltering attempts to back up the drug's sales with new products.

- here's the Reuters story
- read the Merck KGaA release