BD cuts 60 jobs at Irish site, citing COVID-induced shifts in demand, Embecta carve-out

Even as BD allots million of dollars toward expanding its presence in Ireland, the medtech giant is planning a simultaneous slim-down of one of its sites on the Emerald Isle.

A total of 60 jobs at BD’s manufacturing plant in Drogheda—a town located about 30 miles north of Dublin—are now on the chopping block, the company confirmed in a statement sent to Fierce Medtech on Wednesday. That represents about a quarter of the facility’s 235 employees.

The reduction in force will take place throughout the next 15 months, and BD noted that “natural attrition and retirements” that occur during that time may in fact reduce the number of employees actually laid off.

“For those who are affected, we are committed to treating each person affected by this decision with compassion and respect,” the company said in the statement.

The Drogheda site is BD’s oldest manufacturing plant in Ireland, having been established nearly 60 years ago. The company has invested millions of dollars in the plant throughout that time, including nearly $160 million in just the last decade, according to the statement.

The cuts are “not a reflection on the performance of the site,” which has met BD’s “operational expectations,” it said, but rather part of the company’s efforts to “right-size its manufacturing operations with today’s realities.”

In particular need of right-sizing are the manufacturing lines at Drogheda that were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as those related to BD’s diabetes care business, which spun out as standalone company Embecta last year.

With regards to the former, BD noted that the pandemic resulted in “extremely high demand for products used on COVID patients and lessened demand for products that were not used when non-critical procedures were suspended to increase capacity for COVID patients.” Now that demand for the company’s devices is returning to pre-pandemic levels and supply chain issues are being ironed out, BD said it is aiming to “realign current inventory and future demand.”

Despite the cuts planned for the Drogheda plant, BD is still on track to grow its Irish footprint, which currently spans more than 1,100 employees across four facilities.

Just last month, for example, BD marked the grand opening of a new R&D facility in the Blackrock suburb of Dublin. The 10,600-square-foot facility represented an investment of 4 million euros ($4.3 million) and will ultimately house 35 high-tech workers.

Additionally, while celebrating the new outpost, BD announced that it has set aside another 30 million euros ($32.6 million) to expand its existing manufacturing facility in Enniscorthy, located in the southeast of Ireland. According to the company, that 40,000-square-foot expansion will add about 85 more jobs to its roster in the country.