Teva to shut Ashdod plant within year, with loss of 175 jobs

Company statement follows on from December announcement that debt-ridden pharma giant will fire 14,000 workers worldwide over next two years, including some 1,750 in Israel

Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries employees protest closure plans outside a company building in Ashdod, December 17, 2017. (Flash90)
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries employees protest closure plans outside a company building in Ashdod, December 17, 2017. (Flash90)

Teva Pharmaceuticals announced Monday that that it will be closing its factory in the southern coastal city of Ashdod within the year, with the loss of 175 jobs.

Half of the workforce will be laid off in the coming months and the remainder when the plant finally closes in March 2019, a company statement said.

The generic drugs giant said it had failed to find a buyer for the plant, adding that its production of medical infusion bags, which accounts for around half of its activities, was not profitable.

On December 14, the company, which is dogged by a $34 billion debt, announced a restructuring plan envisaging the firing of 14,000 Teva workers worldwide over the next two years — more than a quarter of Teva’s global workforce of over 55,000 — including some 1,750 in Israel.

Describing the closure of the Ashdod factory as “painful but unavoidable,” the statement said, “As Teva announced in December, Teva-Ashdod is included in the reorganization process being carried out as planned in Israel and the world, with the purpose of reducing the cost base in light of the heavy debt hanging over the company and the complicated business circumstances with which it is grappling.”

The Israeli drug company TEVA Pharmaceutical Industries in Jerusalem on August 6, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The company said it would give the dismissed workers the best possible benefits “above and beyond the law” and would provide hearings and professional advice and training. “Teva will behave with respect, fairness and sensitivity,” the company pledged.

Teva has also announced that it will close factories in Jerusalem in in the central cities of Netanya and Petah Tikva and said that as in these cases, it hoped to resolve issues through negotiation and agreement with the Histadrut labor organization.

The company had some 6,800 employees in Israel and some 57,000 workers globally as of the end of November, and is one of the nation’s largest employers.

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