PHARMACEUTICAL giant, Pfizer, has confirmed the sell-off of its second Cork plant with 136 jobs now hinging on a buyer being found for the sprawling facility.
The US firm called a staff meeting today to confirm it is to consolidate all manufacturing operations at its Ringaskiddy facility.
Its award-winning Little Island plant is now deemed surplus to requirements and will be sold off in 2014 as a going concern.
The decision was underpinned by the depressed global pharmaceuticals market and some of Pfizer’s key products coming off patent protection and sales being hit by competition from cut-price generic drug rivals.
The firm has spare production capacity at Ringaskiddy which is a bigger plant site than Little Island.
Pfizer has already successfully secured purchasers for three of its other Irish plants since 2010.
Plants in Cork (2) and Dun Laoghaire were successfully sold off and a significant number of Pfizer jobs saved.
Three years ago, Pfizer warned that, as part of a global cost-cutting programme following its merger with drug giants Wyeth, some 785 Irish jobs had to be shed.
Last year it announced a redundancy programme across its two main Irish plants, Ringaskiddy and Little Island.
“Ireland remains a key strategic location for Pfizer with extensive operations in Cork, Kildare and Dublin,” Pfizer vice-president Dr Paul Duffy said.
“The proposed relocation of these medicines to Ringaskiddy is necessary for our Irish operations as we strive to further enhance our ability to compete even more effectively in a changing global pharmaceutical market.”
However, Pfizer sources confirmed that the 136 Little Island employees will not transfer en bloc to Ringaskiddy.
If positions become available in Ringaskiddy, they will be give preferential application status.
However, if the Little Island plant is not successfully sold as a going concern by next year, the jobs face the axe.