Pharmaceutical major GlaxoSmithKline has set aside £1 million (€1.4m) to soften the blow of selling its bulk active ingredient manufacturing facility in Montrose.
GSK announced its intention to sell the 50-year-old plant two years ago, with Akzo Nobel emerging as a buyer last September. However, the latter pulled out of the deal earlier this year, and GSK has not been successful in securing another buyer. Negotiations are said to be ongoing, and any buyer will inherit a long-term contract to make ingredients for eight GSK products.
GSK has contributed £750,000 to support a range of back-to-work initiatives for the hundreds of staff who have lost their jobs since the company announced the sale, according to an article in The Scotsman newspaper. Another £250,000 has been earmarked to retrain and re-deploy staff internally.
GSK said it had made the donation to "mitigate the effects on the local economy of changes to its bulk chemicals operation at Montrose". Under the scheme, former staff can apply for grants to help them explore new career paths and develop small business ideas.
The closure came about after the merger between Glaxo Wellcome and Smithkline Beecham, when GSK said it planned to cut up to 1,800 manufacturing jobs, or 7 per cent of its UK workforce, to save at least £1 billion. The company has already cut staff numbers from 720 to less than 500 at Montrose since it was put up for sale.
The Montrose site produces ingredients for 20 products, including treatments for respiratory problems, highly infectious diseases, skin conditions and cancer, but many of the processes are duplicated elsewhere in GSK's global network.