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AstraZeneca to cut further 7,000 more jobs

Latest update : 2009-01-29

The pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has announced it will double a cost-cutting programme designed to axe 8,000 jobs, taking the number of redundancies at the firm up to an estimated 15,000 by 2013.

AFP - Anglo-Swedish pharmaceuticals giant AstraZeneca said Thursday it will axe 7,000 more jobs by 2013, extending a cost-cutting programme that has already shed about 8,000 positions since 2007.

"New initiatives include further rationalisation of the global supply chain, additional restructuring of the sales and marketing organisation and business infrastructure," AstraZeneca said in an annual earnings release.

"When fully implemented, these and other new business reshaping activities, combined with revised estimates for the original 2007 programme... will result in the overall programme delivering a reduction of approximately 15,000 positions by 2013."

A company spokeswoman told AFP that 8,000 positions were no longer in existence since the company announced its programme in 2007.

"The expected number (of job cuts) has grown and we are extending the programme out to 2013, so it is going to be over the next four years."

"Alongside the restructuring programme we are still recruiting people," she stressed.

The programme will reap cost savings of 2.5 billion dollars (1.9 billion euros) per year following its full implementation, compared with the previous annual forecast of 1.4 billion dollars.

AstraZeneca said that it expected to be saving 2.1 billion dollars before the end of 2010, with the rest of the savings achieved by 2013.

The group also announced that its 2008 annual net profits rose nine percent to 6.10 billion dollars (4.56 billion euros) on strength in emerging markets, while revenues grew 6.9 percent to 31.60 billion dollars.

However, net profit sank by 1.4 percent to 1.248 billion dollars in the final quarter of 2008, compared with the same period of 2007.

"AstraZeneca has delivered a robust performance in an increasingly challenging market environment," chief executive David Brennan said in the results statement.

"I am particularly pleased with our continued success in globalising our business, as shown by our strong performance in emerging markets.

"We are also making good headway in further improving the efficiency of our organisation. The expansion in the scope of our restructuring efforts is another important step towards sustaining our long-term competitiveness."

Speaking after publication of the results, Brennan said the job cuts were "not a reaction to the recession" but admitted it was not immune to the global downturn.

Many pharmaceutical companies are looking to cut costs as they face more competition from generic drugmakers.

AstraZeneca is the latest drugs giant to unveil job losses after similar announcements last year by British rival GlaxoSmithKline, German pharmaceutical and chemical group Merck and US group Schering-Plough.

Date created : 2009-01-29