Boehringer pulls plug on VA commercial plant

After months of fretting over API capacity, Boehringer Ingelheim is planning to shutter en masse its Petersburg, VA, commercial plant, putting 240 employees out of their jobs.

Citing a bearish market for chemicals, Boehringer is looking to shut the entire plant down by the end of next year. The cuts began with 58 layoffs last month, FiercePharmaManufacturing reports, and the company will slash another 80 to 100 more jobs in December, followed by another 80 to 100 when production ceases in July 2014. The company will provide outplacement services for all affected employees, Boehringer Ingelheim Chemicals CEO Manfred Psiorz said.

"The pharmaceutical industry is going through dramatic changes, and manufacturing needs are being impacted by that change," Psiorz said. "Our employees did a fabulous job operating this plant, but this decision was driven by factors in the market that were beyond our control."

Back in 2012, when Boehringer was planning to close just a third of the Petersburg complex, the company said it was spending too much on capacity without the necessary demand. But the market for APIs has only softened since, and, unable to find a buyer for the plant, Boehringer would rather cut its losses than pay for unsustainable capacity.

"This is a top-tier manufacturing plant," Psiorz said. "We will do all that we can to help the city find an appropriate use for this location."

- read Boehringer's statement
- check out FiercePharmaManufacturing's story