Monday 29 December 2014

Regeneron in final talks to take over Dell's Irish facility

Biopharmaceutical company to create hundreds of jobs in massive boost for the mid-west region

Tom Lyons

Published 21/07/2013 | 05:00

Michael Dell has upped his offer
Michael Dell has upped his offer

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, a company valued at $26bn (€19.7bn) on the Nasdaq, is in final negotiations to take over the former manufacturing facility of Dell in Limerick.

The biopharmaceutical firm is preparing to invest several hundred million in Limerick and create hundreds of jobs in a massive boost for the mid-west.

The area was shell-shocked in January 2009 when Dell let 1,900 manufacturing jobs go when it shifted production to lower-cost Poland.

Thousands more jobs in contracting firms involved in supplying and shipping equipment for Dell were subsequently lost.

Talks between Regeneron and Dell about buying its massive plant in Raheen, Co Limerick, are understood to be close to a positive conclusion.

In a statement the company said: "Regeneron Pharmaceuticals has reached a preliminary agreement with Dell to acquire a 400,000 square foot facility in Limerick.

"Subject to definitive agreements and permitting, Regeneron intends to renovate the facility to accommodate and support growth," he added.

Headquartered in Tarrytown in New York state, Regeneron invents, develops and makes medicines for the treatment of serious medical conditions including cancer, eye diseases and asthma.

The company was founded in 1988 by its chief executive Leonard S Schleifer, who is a former assistant professor at the Cornell University Medical College in the Departments of Neurology and Neurobiology.

Schleifer and his management team are expected to invest over €200m in Ireland in what will be one of the biggest single investments in Ireland this year.

The biopharma giant's decision to invest in Ireland would be a major win for the IDA. The State inward investment agency has made finding a replacement occupier for Dell's large manufacturing facility one of its priorities.

Dell continues to be a big employer in Limerick despite ending its manufacturing operations. It employs 1,100 people, including 100 more staff it added in July 2011.

Lazard Capital Markets analyst Joshua Schimmer earlier this month upgraded Regeneron, the maker of the bestselling Eylea eye drug, to "buy" from "neutral".

Schimmer said Eylea was, in his opinion, well positioned to continue beating sales expectations and that it faced little competition after Allergan's rival drug was delayed.

Regeneron reports its second quarter 2013 financial and operating results on August 6 when it may deliver an update on Limerick.

Ireland is one of the world's best locations for pharma and biopharmaceutical firms which have formed one of the planks underpinning Ireland's recovery.

In an interview on July 12, IDA chief Barry O'Leary said: "There are currently nine pharmaceutical firms in Ireland, each with investments of over €77m under way."

Among these are Pfizer which is investing another €100m across its sites at Grange Castle in west Dublin and Ringaskiddy in Cork, taking its total investment here to over $7bn since 1970.

Merck has just completed a $300m vaccines facility in Carlow and Amgen, Sanofi and Abbott are also all currently expanding their plants.

Irish Independent

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