J&J sets sail toward Ireland with €153M device manufacturing expansion

Johnson & Johnson's Limerick, Ireland-based manufacturing site--Courtesy of J&J

Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) is expanding its medical device manufacturing in Ireland, sinking €100 million ($112 million) into its site in Limerick and opening a €53 million ($59 million) plant in Cork as it looks to chart some upward momentum for its lagging device business.

The company's Vision Care unit will expand manufacturing operations at its National Technology Park site in Limerick, creating about 200 temporary positions during an 18-month construction phase. IDA Ireland, an Irish industrial development agency, is a "key partner" in the company's ongoing growth and development efforts, Mark Benson, vice president of supply chain for J&J's consumer medical devices group, said in a statement.

"Limerick was chosen for this strategically important investment because of its track record over many years in providing quality products and excellent customer service to markets around the globe," Benson said.

J&J's DePuy Synthes unit is also cutting the ribbon on an expanded facility in Ringaskiddy, Cork, which currently employs 800 people, The Irish Times reports. The expansion will create 80 new jobs at the facility and J&J already kicked off recruitment, according to the IT story.

"The decision to expand this site in Ireland was a strategically important investment due to the site's strong track record of excellence in quality and innovation to support the growing demand of our business around the world," said Willem Appelo, vice president of supply chain for J&J's global orthopedics group, as quoted by the IT.

The expansion comes at a critical moment for J&J, as it strives to beef up numbers for medical devices, one of its poorest performing businesses. Last year, the company's medical device sales were $27.5 million, down 3.4% from the previous year. Comparatively, J&J's pharma sales jumped 14.9% to $32.3 billion in 2014.

Still, J&J is working hard to swing those numbers northward, trimming its portfolio while scouting out opportunities for growth in the field. In March, J&J sold off its Cordis unit to Cardinal Health ($CAH) for $1.9 billion to focus on more profitable businesses. And the company plans to launch 30 new medical device products by 2016, J&J said in an April earnings call, building out its offerings to generate growth.

- read the statement on J&J's Limerick site
- here's The Irish Times story
- get more from The Irish Times

Special Report: The top companies in med tech: 2014 revenue results - Johnson & Johnson