AstraZeneca finds buyer for German plant

By Anna Lewcock

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Astrazeneca

Reports emerged in the German press yesterday claiming that
AstraZeneca has found a buyer for its Plankstadt manufacturing

The German Financial Times reported that individuals familiar with the transaction confirmed the sale would be going through, with the International Chemical Investors Group (ICIG) said to be the facility's new owners. While AstraZeneca representatives were unwilling to comment on the report, saying only that the company was aware of the German article, an ICIG employee seemed to suggest that the final signing of the deal was imminent when contacted by earlier today. AstraZeneca announced plans to rid itself of the Plankstadt site​ back in April as part of a company restructuring and cost efficiency drive that included a 3,000-head workforce cull. Original plans were to either sell the site or close it down by the end of 2009, but now having appeared to identify a buyer for the facility the company is well ahead of its 2009 deadline. ICIG is a privately held investment company that focuses on mid-sized chemicals businesses. Since its formation just a few years ago in 2004, it has acquired 13 independent chemicals firms with sales of around €500m ($742m). Previous acquisitions include sites and businesses formerly belonging to Cambrex, Albemarle, Synthacon and Clariant. Although highlighted in AstraZeneca's most recent annual report as on of its "principal manufacturing facilities,"​ the Plankstadt site was one of the first facilities to be condemned through the company cuts. The plant is currently used for bulk production, formulation and packing, employing around 360 people. Only a few years ago new tablet production facilities became operational at the site, following a $35m (€25.6m) investment. The expansion at the plant was intended to accommodate production of the company's prostate cancer drug Casodex (bicalutamide) - patent protection of which expires early next year - and Zomig (zolmitriptan), patent expiries for which begin in 2013. Other products currently manufactured at the plant include Crestor (rosuvastatin) for the treatment of high cholesterol and Tenormin (atenolol) for high blood pressure.

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