April 25, 2013 / 6:30 AM / in 5 years

Lonza to close Irish plant, confirms earnings target

ZURICH, April 24 (Reuters) - Speciality chemicals and life sciences group Lonza plans to close a plant in Ireland as part of an overhaul aimed at boosting profitability, the company said as it confirmed its earnings target for 2013.

Chief Executive Richard Ridinger has overseen a major restructuring since his appointment a year ago, as the Basel-based company has grappled with a strong Swiss franc and low-cost competition,

Lonza reiterated its target to increase earnings before interest and tax by a modest 10 percent this year, compared with 28 percent growth in 2012.

The company said that it will proceed with job cuts at its Swiss plant at Visp, announced in October, and will close its Irish site in Swords, near Dublin, in June.

The site, acquired by Lonza during its 2011 purchase of Arch Chemicals Inc, has 43 staff.

Lonza said in March that it would review its joint venture with Israel’s Teva Pharmaceuticals to produce biosimilars - low-cost copies of expensive biotech medicines that could help both companies to cash in on patent expiries - amid an uncertain regulatory framework. (Reporting by Emma Farge and Martin de Sa‘Pinto; Editing by David Goodman)

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