UPDATE 1-Sanofi plans 600 job cuts in France over 3 years

(Adds background, spokeswoman comment)

PARIS, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Sanofi is considering the launch of a voluntary early retirement plan in France that could lead to around 600 job cuts over three years, the French drugmaker said on Tuesday.

France’s biggest listed company said in a statement that the plan did not envisage plant closures and that the job cuts would not affect its research and development operations.

Sanofi said in July last year that it would adopt a simplified structure centred around five global business units starting in January 2016 to promote growth.

The company said at the time the reshuffle would have no impact on jobs but it said in November, when it unveiled a new strategic plan, that it would reduce its workforce in France by a few hundred jobs annually over 2016-2018.

A Sanofi spokeswoman said there would be no forced redundancies. Sanofi employs 27,000 people in France and 110,000 worldwide.

Sanofi shares were trading down 2.2 percent at 75.04 euros by 1443 GMT. (Reporting by Matthias Blamont; Editing by James Regan)