London (Feb. 1)—AstraZeneca PLC (www.astrazeneca.com) unveiled a plan to improve asset utilization within its global supply chain that involves rationalizing production assets and cutting staff. The company made the announcement as part of its fourth quarter and full-year 2006 financial results.†
Over the next three years, AstraZeneca plans to rationalize production assets, anticipating accounting charges of roughly $500 million, and reduce its workforce by 3000, subject to consultations with work councils, trade unions, and other employee representatives and in accordance with local labor laws. The company did not disclose which particular facilities would be affected.
“Going forward, management remains committed to maintaining a competitive financial performance during a period when the company, as well as the industry, faces the challenges imposed by patent expirations and pricing pressures from the government and private-sector players,” said the company in a prepared statement in explaining the rationale for the cost reductions.
For 2006, AstraZeneca reported an 11% sales gain to $26.5 billion and a 28% gain in profit to $6.04 billion.
AstraZeneca acquires biotech company
In another move, AstraZeneca agreed to acquire Arrow Therapeutics Ltd. (London, www.arrowt.co.uk), a privately held biotechnology company, for $150 million. Arrow Therapeutics is focused on the discovery and development of antiviral therapies. It has 57 employees at its facilities in London.