Pharma giant MSD to close Rathdrum plant
Pharmaceutical company MSD is shedding more than 12 per cent of its Irish workforce with the decision to close its facility in Rathdrum, Co Wicklow, announced yesterday.
The company told staff yesterday that it would cease operations at the plant by the end of 2015 with the loss of all 280 jobs. However, no job losses are expected to happen before the end of next year.
The closure comes as part of an ongoing review of MSD’s worldwide manufacturing capabilities, which has resulted in sites around the world being sold, closed or consolidated. Rathdrum, which at one point employed 400 people, was originally part of Schering Plough’s Irish business before its $41 billion merger with Merck Sharp Dohme in 2009.
“Rathdrum has been a significant manufacturing site since 1961 and has a long history of operational excellence,” site director John Smith said. “The proposal to cease operations is not a reflection of the site’s performance or the highly skilled people working there.”
MSD said manufacturing activities would start to be phased out of the Rathdrum plant next year, with products relocated to its Ballydine operation in Tipperary and to Singapore. Some production will be outsourced.
IDA Ireland and the company said they would work “intensively” to find a buyer for the plant.
Last year, MSD announced 90 job losses at the former Schering Plough plant in Brinny, Cork, where it employs more than 450 people, last October. More than 1,000 people had been employed there at its peak.
The company had also cut 40 jobs at the Rathdrum plant in late 2011. At that time, Mr Smith said the plant remained a “key part” of the company’s manufacturing network “underpinned by a $55 million upgrade and expansion” that had become operational a short time previously.
MSD employs 2,300 people at sites in Dublin, Tipperary, Carlow and Cork.
Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton said yesterday he had spoken to the company, which has assured him of its commitment to Ireland.
Speaking from Houston, Texas, Mr Bruton said: “I am determined to ensure, working closely with the IDA and the company, that no stone is left unturned in the search for a replacement operator for this modern facility and its highly qualified workforce”.