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Pharmacia & Upjohn And Searle Merger Won’t Affect $362 Million Local Investment

by Lida Estela Ruano

June 1, 2000
Copyright © 2000 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

The merger of the parent companies of Pharmacia & Upjohn Caribe Inc. and Searle Ltd. Corp. into Pharmacia Corp. will not threaten the $362 million that both companies had committed to invest locally when they renegotiated their tax exemption deals with the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Corp. (Pridco) in 1999 and 1998, respectively.

As a result of the expansion, total employment at the various local plants of the new Pharmacia Corp. is expected to increase between 850 and 1,350, for a total of 2,000 to 2500 employees within three to four years.

Francisco Pascacio, vice president and general manager of Pharmacia & Upjohn Caribe Inc., said despite the merger completed two months ago, all three local manufacturing plants will remain open and will expand significantly. He added that news of how the top local management will be restructured and to whom they will respond at headquarters is to be announced this week.

Pascacio, a 26-year veteran with Upjohn who has been on the island two and a half years, said his Arecibo plant will be manufacturing a new respiratory tract antibiotic, Zyvox.

The Arecibo plant will also produce Detrol, a hyperactive bladder treatment that entered the market a couple of years ago.

In order to manufacture the new products, the plant is undergoing an $80 million expansion. And the company is constantly looking for ways to further improve its anti-pollution program. This year it is investing $14 million in a steam stripper that would eliminate solvents from water to be treated and another $20 million in a thermal oxidizer.

Additionally, the construction of a $162 million plant in Arecibo to manufacture Nicorette chewing gum (used for the prevention of smoking) would result in 140 new jobs (CB Sept. 30, 1999). The Arecibo plant has 650 full-time employees plus another 300-350 part-time and outsourced jobs.

Three of Pharmacia Corp.’s seven key products are manufactured in Puerto Rico, including arthritis and inflammation drug Celebrex, Detrol, and Zyvox. Arecibo also manufactures Xanax and Halcion.

The other plants are Searle’s Caguas operations–which manufactures Celebrex–and Barceloneta plant, the former Nycomed plant which Searle bought in 1998. The Barceloneta plant is the chemical plant manufacturing some 700-800 metric tons of raw chemicals, used by the local and stateside plants.

This will be the second time local manufacturing jobs have been saved as a result of a merger involving the former Upjohn Inc., the Michigan-based company, which merged in 1996 with Sweden’s Pharmacia.

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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