Pfizer finds buyer for Indian plant set to close this month

Pfizer said two months ago that it would close a 55-year-old plant in Thane, India, that it no longer wanted. But someone sees some value in it, and the U.S. drugmaker now says the facility will be sold to an Indian operation for nearly $27 million.

In a filing with the Bombay Stock Exchange, Pfizer ($PFE) said it has a "Business Transfer Agreement (BTA) for the transfer of the company's business at the Thane plant as a going concern to Vidhi Research and Development in accordance with the terms of the agreement for a lump sum consideration of Rs 178 crore ($26.9 million)."

Vidhi was formed a year ago by Jayeshkumar Talakshibhai Kotak and Pravinbhai Talkshibhai Kotak.

Pfizer said all of the employees will transfer to the new owners. The plant at one time had about 210 employees, but about 130 reportedly took buyouts last year when the drugmaker decided to wind down operations there. Pfizer announced in July that the plant was to be closed by the end of September.

A Pfizer spokesperson told the Economic Times that there had "practically been no production activity at this plant since 2013," and that after assessing its long-term viability, it was decided to close the facility.

While the Pfizer plant and its jobs will be saved with the deal, workers at another Big Pharma player have not been as lucky so far. Novartis said in July that its Sandoz generics unit will close a plant in Turbhe, Maharashtra, at the end of 2016 and lay off its 170 employees. The site manufactures APIs and antibiotics, but Sandoz is transferring that work to other sites in the country. It has manufacturing facilities in Kalwe and Mahad.

- find the BSE filing here
- read the Economic Times story