Tuesday, September 21, 2010

UPDATE 1-Abbott to cut 3,000 jobs following Solvay deal | Reuters

* Seeking efficiencies after closing of Solvay deal

* Closing former U.S. base of Solvay drugs unit

* Abbott shares off 0.3 percent

NEW YORK, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Abbott Laboratories Inc (ABT.N) plans to cut 3,000 jobs, or about 3 percent of its workforce, following its purchase of Solvay's (SOLB.BR) pharmaceuticals business.

The cuts will take place over the next two years and the vast majority will come from one-time Solvay positions, Abbott spokesman Scott Stoffel said. The reductions will include reductions from research and development, commercial, manufacturing and other staff functions, Stoffel said.

Abbott, which has about 93,000 employees, will also close the former U.S. headquarters of Solvay's pharmaceuticals unit in Marietta, Georgia by the end of 2011. About 500 positions at a site in Weesp, the Netherlands also will be eliminated, as will 300 jobs in Hannover, Germany.

The job cuts are part of "a series of recent strategic announcements designed to position Abbott's pharmaceutical business for sustained and future growth," Stoffel said.

Abbott plans to take pre-tax charges of about $810 million to $970 million over the next two years related to the restructuring.

It also expects one-time costs of about $135 million in the second half of this year and $175 million next year related to integrating Solvay. Abbott closed its $6.2 billion deal for the Solvay drugs unit in February, giving Abbott full control of its Belgian partner's cholesterol treatments and further exposure to emerging markets.

Abbott expects to treat the various costs as specified items, and therefore it will not affect its 2010 profit forecast.

Abbott shares were down 0.3 percent at $52.08 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Lewis Krauskopf; Editing by Derek Caney)

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