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GSK continues restructure by axing £350m Cumbria plant plans

Published on 21/07/17 at 09:34am

Just days after UK pharma giant GSK announced it would be selling off its Horlicks brand to focus on its pharmaceutical product line, it has emerged that the company will also be scrapping plans for a new manufacturing plant in Ulverston, Cumbria, UK. The facility was first announced in 2012 and would have cost £350 million.

“The company has decided not to proceed with a previously planned investment to build a biopharmaceutical facility in Ulverston as it no longer needs the additional capacity,” GSK said in a statement. It has stated that the decision will not affect current employees.

The move is part of a wider restructuring effort from the company, but more specifically represents its cephalosporins antibiotics business, which would have been built at the Ulverston plant – it is reported that GSK may be looking to sell this part of the business too. However, the firm made clear that these recent decisions are not related to Brexit.

“In pharmaceuticals, the company is to undertake a strategic review of its cephalosporins antibiotics business, with an option to sell the business including the associated manufacturing facilities. These medicines are produced at GSK sites in Ulverston, Cumbria, Verona in Italy and part of its Barnard Castle site in County Durham,” the company added.

GSK Global Affairs President Philip Thomson said: “We are continuing to invest in science and our core businesses in the UK and we continue to see the UK as an attractive place for the life sciences industry. We are working constructively with the government and others to develop an ambitious plan for the sector as part of the UK’s new industrial strategy.”

Councillor Graham Vincent, South Lakes District Council Economy Portfolio Holder, commented: “We have been in meetings and discussions with GSK in the last few weeks about unrelated matters and there was no suggestion that this announcement was on the horizon. We will work with the company, the local MP, town, county and district councillors and Cumbria LEP to offer whatever support is necessary.”

Matt Fellows

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