While many companies are scaling back production operations around the world, Roche ($RHHBY) has seen its logistics and packaging operations in Switzerland grow by about 500 employees in recent years. To keep up with the need for trained employees for the operation, Roche says it will invest $105 million to build a new training center there.
The plant in Kaiseraugst in northern Switzerland handles quality control and drug packaging, and it currently has about 1,600 workers, according to Reuters. It has grown by 30% in the last 5 years. An article from Bilanz says Roche has already invested about SFr400 million ($423 million) in the Swiss plant and that the facility is currently training about 300 people in 14 "careers" to keep up with demand.
The piece says the SFr100 million training center will be a 12,000-square-meter, 5-story facility including lab and classrooms. The company will start work on the new facility in September and expects to have it complete in October 2014, Reuters reported. "The need for education and training opportunities for our employees is increasing," Matthias Baltisberger, head of Roche Basel-Kaiseraugst said in a statement.
Drugmakers open, expand and close facilities as demand dictates, and Roche is not the only Big Pharma player to announce expansion or plant closings in Europe in recent weeks. Sanofi ($SNY) said last month it had finished up production at an old plant in London and moved equipment from it to facilities in Germany and Italy, laying off about 450 workers. Pfizer ($PFE) just this month said it was investing about $130 million in two plants in Ireland. In May, however, the U.S. drugmaker said it would close a plant in that country at Little Island, Cork, and eliminate more than 135 jobs.