Roche to axe 4,800 jobs in $2.1-b restructuring

Roche Ltd today announced that it will shed 4,800 jobs worldwide or 6 per cent of its workforce as part of the Swiss global health-care company's cost-cutting programme to save $2.1 billion annually.

The multi-billion restructuring programme by the Basel, Switzerland-based pharmaceutical giant also entails closing factories, discontinuing or transferring certain product development activities and discontinuing certain activities in research and early development.

Apart from axing 4,800 jobs, Roche will transfer 800 posts from its Swiss headquarters to other parts of the group and outsource another 700 jobs. Roche said that the combination of planned job reductions and transfers would affect 6,300 positions overall.

Most of the planned job reductions or 2,650 jobs cuts will occur in sales and marketing, while 750 jobs will go in manufacturing, and 600 in research and development.

In addition, Roche intends to seek buyers for its factories in Florence, South Carolina and Boulder, Colorado, in the US, which would affect additional 600 jobs.

Roche, which is the world's largest cancer drug producer, anticipates restructuring costs totalling 2.7 billion Swiss francs from 2010 through 2012, only part of which will be cash related.