06.07.2012 - The French pharma giant is preparing for a major overhaul of activities in its home market.
Exact numbers are not yet final, but French unions already fear the worst. An estimate of 2,000 jobs lost is “probably close to reality,” said Thierry Bodin, a representative of the CGT union after a meeting with managers today. Europe’s third-biggest drugmaker wants to regroup its research in the Paris region and around Lyon, he said. This might be the end for research in Toulouse, where the blockbuster Plavix blood thinner was developed, and Montpellier. The company also plans to eliminate support functions and cut jobs at its Pasteur vaccine division, Bodin said.
Reuters reports, that Chief Executive Chris Viehbacher told employees that the unspecified number of job cuts, at its Toulouse and Montpellier sites, would be achieved through voluntary redundancies, early retirement and internal mobility. Manufacturing sites in France would not be affected by the project. Jean-Marc Podvin, a spokesman for Sanofi, said in a telephone interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, that no job cut figures were given and all options remain open for Toulouse. Montpellier could become a centre focused on clinical development, he added.
The company’s CEO Viehbacher began to restructure Sanofi in 2009 reducing headcount, closing plants and dropping the least promising projects. As part of a strategic shift, the French drugmaker is aiming at reducing internal research and having other actors, such as small biotechs, academic research to find new molecules and vaccines.
In its course to concentrate on its core competencies, Sanofi has decided to divest its 19.3% stake in the Yves Rocher Group, which operates in a variety of sectors, including cosmetics, home care products and clothing. The Rocher family which already controls most of the company will buy the shares and raise its stake to more than 95%.
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