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GSK plans to invest in several UK manufacturing sites and to close its Slough site in conjunction with the sale of the Horlicks brand manufactured in Slough.
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) made several announcements in a July 19, 2017 press release regarding plans to improve the efficiency and competitiveness of its manufacturing network in the United Kingdom. These include both investments for respiratory and HIV medicines manufacturing in the UK and possible sale of several products, in addition to possible closures of manufacturing sites associated with those products. GSK has a significant presence in the UK with nine manufacturing sites, a global R&D site, and its corporate headquarters.
Between now and 2020, GSK plans to invest more than £140 million (more than US$182 million) at its Ware, Hertfordshire, Barnard Castle, Co Durham, and Montrose (Scotland) sites. The investments will support expansion of manufacturing for respiratory and HIV medicines. This new investment is in addition to the £275 million announced last year and investment of over £1.2 billion in UK manufacturing since 2012.
In pharmaceuticals, the company is to undertake a strategic review of its cephalosporins antibiotics business, with an option to sell the business, including the associated manufacturing facilities. GSK produces three cephalosporin antibiotics brands: Zinnat/Ceftin, Zinacef, and Fortum. These medicines are produced at GSK sites in Ulverston, Cumbria, Verona in Italy, and part of its Barnard Castle site. The company has also decided to outsource some manufacturing activity at its Worthing site in the UK. GSK will continue to manufacture other antibiotics such as Augmentin and will continue to conduct research on new antibiotics. The company has also decided not to proceed with a previously planned investment to build a biopharmaceutical facility in Ulverston as it no longer needs the additional capacity.
In its Consumer Healthcare business, the company intends to sell its Horlicks brand in the UK and is proposing to close the associated manufacturing site in Slough where UK product is made. In addition, GSK intends to sell the MaxiNutrition brand in the UK. GSK is also exploring options to divest some other smaller non-core nutrition brands.
Overall, GSK employs approximately 17,000 people across the UK, of which 5000 are in UK manufacturing operations. The proposals announced today for Worthing and Slough will result in a reduction of approximately 320 permanent jobs over the next four years.
“We have a substantial manufacturing presence in the UK and continue to support the network with new investment of more than £140million in the next three years,” said Roger Connor, president, GSK Global Manufacturing and Supply, in the press release. “At the same time, we have had to make some decisions which we know will cause uncertainty for some of our employees. We will do all we can to support them through this process.”
“We are continuing to invest in science and our core businesses in the UK and we continue to see the UK as an attractive place for the life sciences industry,” said Philip Thomson, president, Global Affairs, GSK, in the press release. “We are working constructively with the Government and others to develop an ambitious plan for the sector as part of the UK’s new industrial strategy.” None of the announcements have resulted from the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, the company noted.