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J&J & Wyeth Reps Are Lobbying For New Plants In Puerto Rico

Investment could reach $1.4 billion and 1,000 jobs could be created


February 28, 2002
Copyright © 2002 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals Inc. representatives are lobbying with company headquarters and with the government of Puerto Rico to establish a $1 billion plant for J&J and another $200 million to $400 million plant for Wyeth.

Although no one will speak on record, it is well known in industry circles that negotiations have gone on for more than a year and that top local managers are urging headquarters to make a final decision. If established, the plants could add 1,000 employees to their work forces. The J&J plant, which would be used for biotechnology, an area of large growth, would be the largest individual investment for a new plant in the island’s history.

Efforts by J&J and Wyeth’s local management teams to convince their headquarters to open the plants in Puerto Rico face competition from sister companies on the U.S. mainland. They have secured Pridco incentives to help tilt the balance in Puerto Rico’s favor.

J&J has been on the island for close to four decades, and the performance track record of local workers and management is well appreciated at corporate headquarters. Both companies’ local plants are sole suppliers of the stateside market for blockbuster drugs.

J&J’s McNeil Consumer Products Co. in Las Piedras manufactures Tylenol and Motrin while its Janssen Pharmacy Products Inc. in Gurabo produces Imodium, Nizoral, Hismanal, and Vermox. J&J invested $100 million in 2000 to expand and renovate local plants, and an additional $63 million was allocated in 2001.

Wyeth Pharmaceuticals Inc. in Guayama manufactures Premarin, which last year had annual sales of $1.8 billion. Other products include Gestoden, Sonata, Lodine, Alesse, Inderal and Advil.

Last year the company announced a $105 million expansion in Guayama and a $50 million investment in its two Lederle Carolina plants.

Lederle Parenterals Inc. manufactures injectable products, such asZozyn and Novantione. Lederle Piperacillin Inc. produces synthetic penicillin and Minocin.

The possibility exists that both plants would be established in the yet-to-be-built Puerto Rico Industrial Development Co.’s (Pridco) industrial park in Dorado.

In 1999, then Pridco Executive Director Jaime Morgan Stubbe announced that an industrial park would be developed at the site. And although the ground was cleared last year, no further progress has been made. Rumors that Wal-Mart would establish a mega warehouse there were denied by the giant retailer, an inside source said.

Possibly the biggest stumbling block in the decisions is the uncertain U.S. economy, since the move would represent considerable investments, inside sources said.

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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