Solvay plans to for €3bn in earnings – Merck KGaA to cut 500 jobs – And Amgen buys Turkish drugmaker

CHEMICALSolvay has announced plans to generate €3 billion (£1.8 billion) in earnings following its €3.4 billion acquisition of Rhodia, completed in September 2011. The company says it is going to focus on speciality polymers, consumer chemicals and advanced materials, which currently account for about half of operating income at the group. In other areas, it will look for ‘sustainable cash generation’. The plan is designed to bring ebitda (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) of €3 billion per year by 2016. It says that ‘operational excellence’ across all areas of the business will bring €400 million in savings by 2014: €250 million allocated to ‘global purchasing and logistics’ and €150 million to ‘internal efficiencies’. When the Rhodia deal was struck in April 2011, Solvay predicted $250 million in savings within three years and no ‘major’ downsizing as a direct result of the move.

PHARMACEUTICALMerck KGaA has announced plans to close its Serono site in Geneva, Switzerland, fleshing out restructuring plans revealed in February. Merck Serono is the pharmaceutical business of the group. It has two primary campuses: one in Darmstadt, Germany, and one in Geneva. The latter hosts 1250 jobs, of which 750 will be transferred to sites in Darmstadt, Boston (US) and Beijing (China). The remaining 500 will be cut. In addition, the company says it will cut 80 jobs across three Swiss production sites in Aubonne, Corsier-sur-Vevey and Coinsins. It will start moving and laying off people in the second half of 2012 and aims to have completed the plan by the first half of 2013.

PHARMACEUTICALNovartis has won EU approval for its Signifor (pasireotide) injections for treating Cushing’s disease, which is characterised by excess cortisol caused by a tumour in the pituitary gland. Novartis says that pasireotide, which works by reducing cortisol levels in the body, is the first drug approved for the treatment of Cushing’s disease, a rare but serious disease that affects one to two patients per million per year. The first line, and most common, treatment is surgical removal of the tumour.

PHARMACEUTICAL – US biotech Amgen has struck a deal to buy privately owned Turkish drug maker Nevzat for $700 million. Nevzat generated sales of $200 million (£120 million) in 2011. Amgen says that Turkey and the surrounding regions represent ‘priority markets’ for the company. It established an affiliate in Turkey in 2010 and currently markets two products there.

CHEMICAL – Ton Büchner has taken over from Hans Wijers as boss of Netherlands paints and coatings manufacturer AkzoNobel as planned. The move was announced in June last year. Büchner is leaving Swiss engineering firm Sulzer, which makes industrial pumps.

Andrew Turley

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