Puerto Rico manufacturing base to grow with AbbVie expansion

AbbVie ($ABBV) this week announced plans to expand in Puerto Rico, investing $30 million and creating up to 100 jobs on the island that has seen hits and misses in recent years from pharma manufacturers.

The company received $1 million in incentives for the project, the Chicago Tribune reports, and will invest in plant and equipment upgrades at a plant in Puerto Rico's northern municipality of Barceloneta, where it has two facilities.

The new investment demonstrates that the island is a "key element" of the company's global manufacturing network, AbbVie said in a release. AbbVie, which was part of Abbott ($ABT) before being spun off in 2013, tracks its history on the island back to 1969. The company's three plants on the island employ about 1,000 people and manufacture 13 products including arthritis med Humira, the world's best-selling drug that brought the company $11 billion in sales last year.

Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company assisted in the project; the commonwealth has been promoting itself to drugmakers with local incentives after some federal tax breaks were phased out for the island. However, it has seen mixed news in recent years.

Late last year, Florida-based Romark Laboratories announced it would invest $110 million to build a plant in Manati. A couple of months before that, however, Eli Lilly ($LLY) announced plans to close a plant by the end of this year, but said that the 100 employees there would be offered jobs at a plant 50 miles away. Actavis ($ACT) is spending $48 million to renovate a facility on the island that it acquired from its purchase of Warner Chilcott. That upgrade is expected to add 300 jobs over the next three years.

- here's the release
- and the Chicago Tribune story