German Merck axes 200 jobs in production consolidation
- Merck KGaA, or German Merck, is revamping its European life sciences manufacturing network in a program of investment and reorganization over the next five years .
- The company will relocate manufacturing to focus on the cities of Darmstadt and Schnelldorf in Germany, Buchs in Switzerland and Molsheim in France, and will invest €90 million ($102.5 million) in the four sites.
- Operations in Germany's Steinheim, Eppelheim, Hohenbrunn and Berlin will be relocated and the facilities closed, resulting in job losses for 200 people between 2017 and 2022.
Merck KGaA has made efforts to streamline its manufacturing operations for quite some time, but the $17 billion acquisition of Sigma-Aldrich in 2014 helped ratchet up the movement. The deal brought with it fears, at least stateside, that layoffs were on the way. Now, those concerns are becoming reality for a couple hundred employees across the drugmaker's Western Europe life sciences network.
The aim of the latest reorganization is, at least in part, to optimize and centralize filling and distribution of small quantities of laboratory chemicals and reagents to speed up its response time for its customers.
"Centralizing filling of small quantities and their distribution will continue to increase our speed and responsiveness to customer requests," Udit Batra, CEO of Merck KGaA's Life Science business, said in a July 12 statement. "This is something that the acquired Sigma-Aldrich excelled in and we see positive impacts of this effort already in North America."
Merck KGaA's reorganization of its sites worldwide has included "network updates" in the U.S. — in St. Louis and Massachusetts — as well as globally in China, Ireland and Japan. Last month, Merck KGaA invested over $300 million into two manufacturing facilities in Ireland, creating more than 300 jobs.
- Merck KGaA Press release
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