Drug firm may invest up to €1bn in Waterford

IDA holding advanced talks with major international pharmaceutical company

Waterford has established itself as a suitable base for pharmaceutical manufacturing following the success of Genzyme.

Waterford has established itself as a suitable base for pharmaceutical manufacturing following the success of Genzyme.

Fri, Aug 22, 2014, 01:00

The IDA is in talks with a major international pharmaceutical about making an investment of between €500 million and €1 billion in Waterford.

The talks are understood to be at an advanced stage with the multibillion dollar-valued multinational in a move which would create hundreds of jobs in the southeast.

Waterford has established itself as a suitable base for pharmaceutical manufacturing following the success of Genzyme, which employs 500 people in the area. In February last year the company, which is owned by Sanofi, said it planned to invest €44 million there to allow it begin making its insulin drug, Lantus, by 2016.

The new investment in Waterford is by an as yet unnamed multinational which does not have a presence in the southeast. The name of the pharmaceutical company is being closely guarded but the existence of the project is indicated in a tender document issued by Waterford City and County Council.

This is seeking contractors to prepare a 45-acre greenfield site owned by the IDA in Waterford for investment. This, according to sources, indicates the project, which has been the subject of high-level discussions for months, is close to being green-lighted.

The IDA declined to discuss the matter and issued a statement. “IDA Ireland markets sites and properties throughout Ireland to potential inward investors. Among these properties is a 21.76 hectare site at Knockhouse, Old Kilmeaden Road, Waterford.

“In order to enhance the attributes of this site to potential inward investors, IDA has asked Waterford City and County Council to carry out site-levelling works during the summer/autumn of 2014.

Confidential discussions

“Planning consents are being sought in this context, and IDA will continue to discuss potential investment at the site with any relevant parties. As is customary, such discussions are confidential.”

The scale of the investment being discussed is a minimum of €500 million but it could extend to €1 billion over five years if all goes to plan. Adding construction and manufacturing jobs, the project would be one of the biggest investments in Waterford in many years. A new investment would further establish the southeast as a viable alternative to Cork as a hub for pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical investment. Genzyme established itself in Waterford in 2001, and has turnover of more than €1 billion annually in Ireland.