There was a welcome employment boost for Waterford on Monday when IVAX Pharmaceuticals Ireland announced the creation of 165 new jobs over the next five years.
A subsidiary of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, IVAX already has 650 workers at three plants within the city’s Industrial Park. The fresh investment amounts to €65 million and the expansion has been grant-aided by IDA Ireland.
The investment by the parent company will allow its operation here to more than double both its inhaler and tablet manufacturing capacity and will confirm Waterford as the primary strategic location within the Teva Group for the making of products for the relief and prevention of asthma.
These are exported world-wide and the new investment will enable the facility to continue as an important supplier of tablets and capsules for the US market, according to Tom McCabe, general manager of the Waterford operation.
“The investment is necessary to meet increasing demand for both solid dosage forms and respiratory products such as ProAirTM, particularly in the US,” said Mr. McCabe. “We are expanding into a neighbouring building (the former Kromberg & Schubert plant) we purchased a number of years ago, so the project is akin to building a new factory”. The expansion will extend the Waterford operation to almost 500,000 square feet.
Teva, which is among the top 20 pharmaceutical companies in the world, acquired the IVAX Waterford business as part of its acquisition of the IVAX Corporation in January 2006.
In addition to its three manufacturing plants, the Waterford campus also includes a research and development facility with some 70 staff, most of whom work on the development of products for the treatment of respiratory diseases.
Vote of confidence
Formally announcing the expansion plans at Faithlegg House Hotel, Minister for Enterprise Trade and Employment, Micheál Martin, said he recognised and welcomed Teva Pharmaceuticals commitment to its Irish subsidiary, its local workforce and the pharmaceutical sector in Ireland.
“The decision to make this investment owes a great deal to the strong performance of the site to date,” said Minister Martin. “The expertise and commitment of the management and staff at this facility singled out IVAX as the prime location for this investment. The site’s research and development team, for example, was responsible for developing new device technologies for metered dose inhalers which have been very well received by patients in the markets it serves.”
Waterford’s Minister for Transport Martin Cullen welcomed the announcement saying the investment represented a strong vote of confidence not only in the skill and competence of the management and workforce but in Waterford itself, a city with a strategic location, a high quality urban fabric and a favourable demographic in relation to accessing a ready and enthusiastic workforce.
He said the announcement meant further stimulation of manufacturing capacity at IVAX in addition to new employment and additional research and development, allowing the plant to compete successfully and productively with other key manufacturers in the intensely competitive global pharmaceutical market.
Union “played key role”
The trade union SIPTU has also welcomed the announcement with local Branch Organiser Marie Butler making the point that IVAX was a highly unionised plant and its planned expansion dispelled the myth that unions were anathema to business.
“It proves”, she said, “that management and unions can work together. In fact in-house SIPTU union leadership played a key role in creating the climate of trust and stability that makes such an investment possible.
“As far as SIPTU is concerned we will continue to offer advice and our industrial relations expertise to the workers at the plant and look forward to maintaining a good professional relationship with management”.
Mayor Mary O’Halloran said the announcement was very important for Waterford and demonstrated the company’s continued commitment to the city. She pledged the City Council’s ongoing support.