Boehringer Ingelheim's French subsidiary is reportedly set to slash 178 jobs as part of a reorganisation of its activities, with the salesforce bearing the brunt of the cuts.
The reductions were announced to staff at a meeting last week and tie in with Boehringer's earlier decision to trim backs its operations in Europe as operating conditions in the region continue to be hit by price reductions, particularly in the south, and sluggish uptake of new products.
News of the latest round of job reductions came from two French trade unions - the FO and CFE-CGC - which said 143 positions will be lost in Boehringer's salesforce while another 35 administrative posts will go at facilities in Paris and Reims. Another 64 workers will be affected by the reshuffle but should retain employment.
All told the restructuring will affect 20 per cent of the German group's French subsidiary, a CFE-CGC spokesman told the newswire Agence France Presse (AFP).
Boehringer is also due to close down operations at a facility in Blanquefort near Bordeaux operated by its subsidiary Labso Fine Chemicals at the end of this month, with the loss of 53 jobs. The group tried and failed to find a buyer for the plant.
The unit made active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) for a number of Boehringer's products, including stroke treatment Persantin (dipyridamole), but had been at overcapacity in recent years following patent expirations on some of its main products.
Boehringer said earlier this year it had to adapt its operations because the business environment in Europe does not look likely to improve much in the coming years, but other countries are also being affected by the revamp.
The company is closing down a plant in Virginia, US, with the loss of between 80 and 100 jobs, while Boehringer recently announced an €86m investment programme at its facility in Zhangjiang, China that will see headcount there rise from around 240 to 350.