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unemployment job 400ZURICH: Swiss drugs industry supplier Lonza plans to cut 500 jobs, including 400 at its main plant in Visp, to improve profitability as it grapples with price pressures, a strong Swiss franc and higher raw material costs.


The Basel-based firm has vowed to concentrate on improving competitiveness and profitability after a series of setbacks and flagged in July it was conducting a business review which could lead to job cuts.


In its third-quarter business update on Wednesday, Lonza said it was on track to deliver productivity improvements of 100 million Swiss francs ($107 million) by 2015 and it had decided to axe the 400 jobs at Visp over the next year.


It also plans a further 100 reductions in corporate functions over the next year.


Following the measures at Visp, which produces chemical ingredients and microbial biopharmaceuticals and employs 2,890 workers, Lonza said it would also review its global manufacturing footprint as it looks at ways to improve profitability at other sites.


Lonza said its business had performed as expected in the third quarter and it was on track to meet its full-year target for operating profit to rise between 10 and 15 percent.


Lonza which makes pharmaceutical ingredients for drug makers like GlaxoSmithKline and Abbott, moved back into speciality chemicals last year through its acquisition of US-based Arch Chemicals, as it sought to shield itself from the volatile pharmaceutical industry.


The company said the integration was going as planned and that 90 percent of synergies had already been realised.


Copyright Reuters, 2012

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