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Roche confirms closure after new deal fails

Hundreds of workers in a Clarecastle pharmaceutical manufacturing facility have been left reeling after talks to copperfasten an expected takeover by another global giant ended unsuccessfully.

Roche Ireland has confirmed that negotiations for the transfer of the Clarecastle manufacturing site to a global pharma services company have ended without an agreement following a rigorous examination.

As announced in November 2015, production at Clarecastle will cease in a phased approach currently estimated to be completed between 2018 and 2019 when the company will exit the site.

Roche will now enter into formal consultation with employees and their representatives about the planned closure of the site.

Barring a new deal with another global giant, the closure will cost the local economy an estimated €20 million in direct and indirect jobs.

Workers were informed about the unsuccessful end to negotiations at a meeting in the Clarecastle facility on Tuesday afternoon.

In a statement issued to the Clare Champion, the company said it is committed to acting fairly and equitably with all employees and to providing the necessary and appropriate support.

A few weeks ago, the Clare Champion revealed Patheon Inc, which has its corporate head offices in Durham, North Carolina, was one the verge of signing up to a new deal that would safeguard the future of 240 employees and estimated 150 subcontractors.

Patheon had signed a letter of intent, which is the first stage in the process of acquiring a new company and is also engaging in the due diligence process.

The ‘Champion understands that least six companies expressed an interest in purchasing Roche and Patheon was the first of the four who visited the Clarecastle manufacturing facility.

It was envisaged the proposed sale would be signed off at the end of April or early in May. However, hopes that a new operator could be secured for the plant were dashed on Tuesday afternoon.Roche Ireland is a very profitable company for the Roche Group having secured sales worth €770 million for Cellcept in 2014, which is one of the top ten drugs in the country.

It is estimated that up to €100 million is incurred annually in the Clarecastle plant on maintenance and production costs.

More than €100 million has been invested in the site in the past three years making it a very attractive prospect for potential investors.

In addition to the state of the art infrastructure, there is also a very talented, dedicated and well-thought of workforce at Roche who are highly skilled and committed.

Deputy Timmy Dooley commented, “This is a very distressing time for workers and their families and my thoughts are with them this evening. The announcement of the closure of the plant marks a period of uncertainty for them. Despite initial indications that a buyer for the plant was on the cards, it has been confirmed today that a deal could not be secured and the facility will close over the next two years.

“Many of the employees are highly skilled workers who have been with the company for many years. Moves need to be made now to ensure that these workers are offered upskilling and retraining opportunities to ensure that they are in the best position possible to secure alternative employment.”

By Dan Danaher

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