* Seeking efficiencies after closing of Solvay deal
* Closing former U.S. base of Solvay drugs unit
* Abbott shares off 0.5 percent
(Adds further details on restructuring, background)
By Lewis Krauskopf
NEW YORK, Sept 21 Abbott Laboratories Inc
(ABT.N) plans to cut 3,000 jobs, or about 3 percent of its
workforce, following its purchase of Solvay SA's (SOLB.BR)
The cuts will take place over the next two years and the
vast majority will come from onetime Solvay positions, Abbott
spokesman Scott Stoffel said Tuesday. The reductions will
involve research and development, commercial, manufacturing and
other staff functions, Stoffel said.
Abbott, which has about 93,000 employees, will also close
the former U.S. headquarters of Solvay's pharmaceuticals unit
in Marietta, Georgia, by the end of 2011. About 500 positions
at a site in Weesp in the Netherlands also will be eliminated,
as will 300 jobs in Hannover, Germany. Solvay's drug unit had
more than 10,000 jobs when Abbott bought it.
The job cuts are part of "a series of recent strategic
announcements designed to position Abbott's pharmaceutical
business for sustained and future growth," Stoffel said.
Abbott plans to take pre-tax charges of about $810 million
to $970 million over the next two years related to the job
cuts, discontinuation of research programs, asset write-downs
and other restructuring-related costs.
It also expects one-time costs of about $135 million in the
second half of this year and $175 million next year related to
integrating Solvay. Abbott closed its $6.2 billion deal for the
Solvay drugs unit in February, giving Abbott full control of
its Belgian partner's cholesterol treatments and further
exposure to emerging markets.
Abbott expects to treat the various costs as specified
items, and therefore they will not affect its 2010 profit
forecast, which excludes such items.
Abbott did not specify the savings it expects from the
cuts, but said in a securities filing that the savings are
expected to be in line with those previously outlined to
investors when the company announced the Solvay deal last
Abbott previously said savings from the Solvay deal would
add 10 cents to earnings per share this year, accelerating to
more than 20 cents per share by 2012. Abbott is expected to
earn $4.16 per share this year and $4.63 in 2011, according to
analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Abbott, which also makes diagnostics and medical devices
such as stents, earlier this year boosted its emerging markets
presence by buying the branded generics business of India's
Piramal Healthcare Ltd (PIRA.BO) for $3.7 billion.
The maker of the blockbuster Humira rheumatoid arthritis
drug in April trimmed its 2010 profit forecast due to the costs
of U.S. healthcare reforms, overshadowing better-than-expected
Abbott shares were down 0.5 percent at $51.98 in afternoon
trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
(Reporting by Lewis Krauskopf; Editing by Derek Caney and
Gerald E. McCormick)