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Novartis Plans To Cut 1,100 Jobs

June 22, 1999

BASEL, Switzerland (AP) _ Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Novartis plans to cut 1,100 jobs worldwide from its struggling agricultural division over two years in a bid to cut costs.

The company hopes to make the cuts, which amount to 6.1 percent of the 18,000 people employed in the division, through early retirement and internal transfers but did not rule out layoffs.

It expects the cuts will result in savings of $65 million a year.

About 150-200 of the jobs lost will come from the company’s Basel headquarters.

Agricultural division head Heinz Imhof said the move will give Novartis ``full flexibility″ to maneuver in a changing environment in Europe and the Americas, and to adapt to lower farm subsidies and commodity prices.

In the first quarter of 1999 the division’s sales fell by 10 percent to $1.56 billion. The agricultural division deals with crop protection, animal health and seeds.

Novartis became the world’s third biggest pharmaceuticals company when it was created in the 1996 merger of Ciba-Geigy and Sandoz.

In March the company posted overall net profits of 6 billion Swiss francs, or $4 billion, up from 5.21 billion francs a year earlier.

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