GlaxoSmithkline to cut 6,000 jobs: report

LONDON Sun Feb 1, 2009 7:48am EST

Signage is pictured on the company headquarters of GlaxoSmithKline in west London July 21, 2008. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Signage is pictured on the company headquarters of GlaxoSmithKline in west London July 21, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Toby Melville

LONDON (Reuters) - British drugs company GlaxoSmithKline Plc. (GSK.L) is set to announce about 6,000 job losses when it posts results on Thursday, the Sunday Telegraph newspaper said.

The cuts by Glaxo, the world's second largest drugs company after U.S. group Pfizer (PFE.N), are part of Chief Executive Andrew Witty's strategy to meet the challenges facing the industry, including increased competition from generic drug makers, the British newspaper said.

The company, which employs about 100,000 people including 18,000 in the UK, has failed to get as many new drugs to market as investors hoped when it was created via a merger eight years ago.

Witty has tried to shift Glaxo's center of gravity away from blockbuster prescription drugs, like top-seller Advair for asthma, and toward non-prescription consumer healthcare products.

A Glaxo spokesman said the company has a restructuring program but he declined to comment on specific job cuts.

Rival AstraZeneca (AZN.L) announced 6,000 job losses on Thursday after posting weaker than expected fourth-quarter sales.

(Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Greg Mahlich)