(Changes 'keep' to 'back overhaul of' in headline; changes
wording of paragraph 7 to remove reference to retaining site)
PARIS May 17 Sanofi said it would
overhaul rather than exit its Toulouse research site, as it
seeks to break an impasse with the French government which
opposed the drugmaker's reorganisation plans and the loss of
Sanofi has been regrouping its research operations around
the world into regional hubs and closing some laboratories to
cut costs as it grapples with the impact on revenues of patent
loss on several top-selling drugs.
Chief Executive Chris Viehbacher plans to move research
facilities in France to Paris, Lyon and Strasbourg, while
closing other sites and cutting jobs.
The announcement last year to wield the axe in France
incensed unions, which had predicted layoffs would run up to
2,500, and the newly elected socialist government as several
other French companies announced big job cuts.
A government-commissioned report published earlier on Friday
called for a reorganisation of the Toulouse site that could
preserve around 500 of the 612 staff employed there.
Sanofi said it would take on the recommendations for
Toulouse while pressing ahead with its wider plans.
The company said that in the next five years it would
support moves such as the creation of a centre in Toulouse to
provide research and development services to the company and
other pharmaceutical groups, the establishment of local
start-ups and the spin-off of some activities.
A Sanofi spokesman said the company was not committing
itself to keeping a specific number of jobs at the Toulouse
(Reporting by Elena Berton and Noelle Mennella; Editing by
Elaine Hardcastle and Helen Massy-Beresford)