Sanofi says job cuts in France should not involve plant closures

Sanofi CEO Olivier Brandicourt

Sanofi is looking to trim 600 jobs in France as part of new CEO Olivier Brandicourt's plan to squeeze €1.5 billion in annual costs. The drugmaker says it does not plan on closing any plants in France as part of the process, but that does not mean that its production network in the home country will escape unscathed. Brandicourt has also said he will "reshape" the manufacturing network as part of his overall reorganization of the company.

Sanofi ($SNY) officials met with union leaders in France Tuesday to discuss the moves. While details were slim, reports said the drugmaker would achieve the reductions in part by not filling about 300 open R&D jobs, and trimming another 250 in Sanofi's commercial operations and corporate offices.

The company indicated it would use a voluntary early retirement plan in France to trim the 600 jobs from the 27,000 employees it has there, Reuters reported. A Sanofi spokeswoman told the news service there would be no forced redundancies.

A Sanofi spokeswoman declined to tell FiercePharmaManufacturing how the drugmaker's manufacturing network in France might be affected. She said only, "Sanofi will provide an overall update on the new organization on February 9th during the presentation of 2015 annual results."

But when Brandicourt sketched the outline of his cost reduction plan last fall, he said that part of the savings would come from remaking Sanofi's manufacturing operations. Several months before that, Brandicourt met with production union workers in France and indicated Sanofi's domestic manufacturing operations needed to improve efficiency by up to 25%. According to a document union members showed Reuters at the time, the CEO said he wanted the French operations to have costs in line with manufacturing in Eastern Europe. Union members said they interpreted that to mean job cuts in France.

The company's manufacturing network outside of the France is already being trimmed. The drugmaker has a 690,000-square-foot facility in Kansas City, MO, on the market and has said it will close the facility by August if a buyer is not found.

- read the Reuters story

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