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97% of Roche staff were redundant by May

THE 2019 accounts for Roche Ireland have been filed, which show it recorded a loss of over €8.8 million for the year, as it proceeds towards its closure.

The Director’s Report states that, “Ninety seven per cent of Roche Ireland employees were made redundant by May 2020 and the company has transitioned from a manufacturer to a construction site commencing the decontamination and demolition works in 2020, which will continue until 2023.”

It said the pandemic has not made much difference to its plans. “The Covid-19 pandemic did not have a significant impact on the project progress. While the Clarecastle site was in a six-week lockdown, the project sub-teams responsible for developing both the regulatory applications and tender package were working remotely to ensure the scheduled timelines were met. No additional costs are expected as a result of the lockdown.”

The parent company is providing finance for the closure. “The company continues to receive funding on an ongoing basis from the Roche Group under its cash pooling and capital contribution arrangements and had net current assets of circa €32 million at December 31, 2019. On this basis the directors do not consider that any material uncertainty exists in relation to the company’s ability to continue as a going concern until the plant’s planned closure.”

Recording the provision for the decommissioning of the plant, the accounts state, “A decommissioning provision of €7,757,000 was recorded by end 2019. The provision recorded is an estimate of the ultimate liability that is expected to arise and is discounted to reflect the time value of money. This estimate is inherently judgemental due to uncertainties related to the method, timing and extent of decommissioning. The estimate could change substantially over time as new facts emerge.”

In fact, the estimate for the cost of the decommissioning was down from just over €9 million 12 months earlier. The average number of people employed during 2019 was 132, while there were staff costs of just over €16.5 million during the year. An exceptional cost of €1.87 million on environmental spending occurred during 2019.

Outlining some of the background to the decision to close, and progress since then, the document said, “On November 12, 2015, Roche Group announced a strategic realignment of its manufacturing network, including exiting from the company’s manufacturing site at Clarecastle, County Clare. This realignment would involve either the sale of the company to a third party or the closure of the manufacturing site on a phased basis over a number of years. Negotiations to sell the plant were unsuccessful and the directors resolved to close the plant by 2020.”

It added, “Ninety seven per cent of Roche Ireland employees were made redundant by May 2020 and the company has transitioned from a manufacturer to a construction site, commencing the decontamination and demolition works in 2020, which will continue until 2023.”

About Owen Ryan

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Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.