Pfizer to invest over $1.26 billion in Irish jobs boost

DUBLIN, Dec 1 (Reuters) - Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) plans to invest more than 1.2 billion euros ($1.26 billion) to expand manufacturing at its plant in Dublin, it said on Thursday, handing the Irish multinational sector a jobs boost at a time when major tech firms are laying off staff.

The move will lead to the creation of 400 to 500 new roles and double the capacity to produce key substances used in biological drugs at a new facility, which is due for completion in 2027, Pfizer said.

The U.S. drugmaker is already one of the largest foreign-owned employers in Ireland and its biggest single investment to date in the country will bring its staffing there to 5,500.

Ireland is hugely reliant on the multinationals that together employ more than 275,000 people, or one in nine workers, and account for a large chunk of the country's income and corporate taxes.

Many of the world's leading drugmakers have operations in Ireland and Pfizer's expansion follows a similar announcement by U.S. healthcare company Abbott Laboratories (ABT.N) in August that it would add 1,000 new jobs.

Multinational jobs growth soared to record levels in the first half of this year, but since then a number of tech companies including Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc (META.O), Twitter and Stripe have laid off Irish staff as part of global cutbacks.

The state agency charged with attracting new companies to the country has said it expects multinational investment to weaken slightly next year.

However data this week showed that Ireland's unemployment rate fell slightly to 4.4% in November and remains near a 21-year-low amid a tight labour market.

Pfizer, which last year began producing an ingredient for its COVID-19 vaccine at the facility in Dublin, said the new investment for non-COVID licensed and pipeline products will help to further expand the site's broad capabilities.

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Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru and Padraic Halpin in Dublin; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta, Kirsten Donovan

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