UPDATE 2-Sanofi plans to cut research jobs at 2 sites-unions
* Jobs could go at Toulouse, Montpellier sites -unions
* Toulouse site could be put up for sale -CFDT union
* Sanofi to centralise certain activities in Paris, Lyon
* Sanofi says no manufacturing sites affected (Adds CFDT union statement)
By Noëlle Mennella and Elena Berton
PARIS, July 5 (Reuters) - Sanofi is planning to cut a number of research jobs, union sources told Reuters on Thursday, the latest in a series of cutbacks as the French drugmaker responds to patent expiries and healthcare spending cuts.
Chief Executive Chris Viehbacher told employees that the unspecified number of job cuts, at its Toulouse and Montpellier sites, would be achieved through voluntary redundancies, early retirement and internal mobility, the sources said.
The CFDT union said the Toulouse site, with 610 employees, may end up being put up for sale.
"The number of employees impacted will only be known after the summer," it added in a statement.
Sanofi pledged in September to increase earnings by more than 5 percent annually and trim costs by 2 billion euros ($2.5 billion) by 2015 as it branches out into growth areas like vaccines and animal health to make up for declining sales of top drugs.
Thursday's news of job cuts come as Sanofi, which expects to firm up these plans in September, moves to centralise its research and support operations in Paris and Lyon, according to the source.
A Sanofi spokesman said the company has presented its strategic views on its French operations and that it expects to present a project in September after staff consultations during the summer.
French daily Le Figaro reported late on Wednesday that Sanofi planned to cut 1,000 to 2,000 jobs in France, targeting research and manufacturing operations of the vaccines unit and certain support at the company's headquarters.
Sanofi employs 28,000 staff in France, representing 25 percent of the company's total workforce, across 49 sites such as the Paris headquarters, research laboratories, production and distribution facilities.
France is the latest country where the company is reshuffling its activities to front the loss of patents on key drugs, including multibillion dollar clot preventer Plavix, and healthcare spending cuts across Europe.
Sanofi announced in March the closure of a plant in northern England after shuttering an R&D centre in New Jersey in November and cutting its cardiovascular and oncology sales force in the U.S.
At 1118 GMT Sanofi shares were trading 1 percent lower at 60.32 euros, slightly outperforming a 1.4 percent drop for the Paris blue-chip CAC40 index. ($1=0.7994 euros) (Reporting by Noelle Mennella; Writing by Elena Berton; Editing by Mike Nesbit and Jon Loades-Carter)
- U.S.' Kerry expresses regret to India over diplomat case |
- Washington, DC city council raises minimum wage to $11.50/hr in 2016
- China confirms near miss with U.S. ship in South China Sea
- Mega Millions winners in Georgia, California to split $648 million |
- Medical bills underlie 60 percent of U.S. bankrupts: study