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AstraZeneca to cut 400 more jobs in Sweden

Anglo-Swedish pharma firm wields axe at Södertälje facility

AstraZeneca AZ Sodertalje

The global restructure of its business that AstraZeneca (AZ) began in February will see a further 400 jobs cut in Sweden it has emerged.

Most of the affected positions are at its Södertälje facility, where AZ decided earlier this year to halt R&D work, and follow the conclusion last month of government-union negotiations.

“We realised already then that it was administrative personnel and related services that would be affected,” AstraZeneca's head of information, Ann-Leena Mikiver told Swedish news agency TT.

“Those who are affected in this cut are economists, lawyers, the personnel department, IT-technicians, lab technicians and those types of broad competencies.” 

Three quarters of the cuts will hit laboratory personnel and those responsible for the upkeep of machinery and some 50 scientists have already left the company in a phased transition that is expected to be completed by December.

The pharma company already plans to cull 1,100 positions from its Swedish operations as part of a massive restructuring of its business that will see around 7,300 people lose their jobs.

AZ is not alone in looking to reduce headcount in order to save costs and streamline its business, with Merck KGaA and Novartis among its fellow big pharma companies undertaking large restructuring programmes.

Although the Södertälje site, as AZ's single largest manufacturing location and its Scandinavian commercial base, will remain open, there may be more job cuts in the future.

“We are a large and global company trying to make our way in a very competitive business. There's always restructuring going on and that is never finished,” Mikiver told TT.

Already, the picture doesn't look very positive for 2012 as pricing pressures and generic competition, particularly for Seroquel IR and Atacand in global markets and for Crestor in Canada, continue to cause a decline in sales.

The company's CEO David Brennan stepped down earlier this month having announced his decision to quit on the same day AZ unveiled a 26 per cent drop in first quarter profits. 

This is expected to be in-line with the company's full-year performance, with AZ expecting constant currency revenues to see a “low double-digit” decline in 2012.

14th June 2012

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