GSK Announces that Stiefel Plant in Sligo will Remain Open

Following an in-depth strategic review, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) today announced that the Stiefel plant in Sligo will remain open and will receive an investment of €10 million.  The project is supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through IDA Ireland and will enhance the plant’s technical expertise and capacity. The plant, which had been scheduled to close next year, will become a dedicated Stiefel consumer products supply site. The flexibility, productivity and commitment of GSK staff in Sligo have been important factors in this decision.  Staff were informed of the development at a meeting on site early this morning. Today’s announcement was attended by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD.

Sligo joined the GSK network as part of the global Stiefel acquisition in 2009.  It is a well-established employer, located at its current premises since 1975, and currently employs 180 people. GSK employs 1,600 staff across five locations in Ireland. While the Sligo site currently employs 180 people, this number will reduce to 120 over the next two years as the plant transitions from the production of pharmaceutical to skin healthcare products.  During this phase, the company will develop new skills and improve capacity enabling it to move to a position of employment growth in 2014, bringing an estimated additional 50 jobs at this point.

GSK has selected the Sligo plant as a dedicated supply site for its Stiefel consumer products and the home of its liquid bottling operation.  In time, the site will also have a role as a development centre for Stiefel consumer products including Physiogel, Oilatum, Stieprox and Driclor.

Originally a pharmaceutical plant, Sligo will be developed to respond to the needs of a fast-paced, quality-driven consumer business. That will mean building the capability to support the launch of multiple new products each year, delivery of a range of different packaging concepts, as well as the ability to flex production swiftly to respond to changing market demand.

GSK plans to significantly develop its technical and innovation capabilities at Sligo over the next five years and will be investing €10 million to upgrade the site’s technical competences and develop its potential. The investment is supported by IDA Ireland.

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, said: “Central to the Government’s plans for jobs and growth is ensuring not only that we grow our jobs in multinational companies, but also working hard to retain jobs currently in place. Today GSK is announcing that it has reversed its decision to close the Sligo facility, is investing €10million in the facility, retaining 120 jobs, and will create at least 50 extra jobs from 2014. This very welcome news is a great vote of confidence in the workforce, in Sligo and in Ireland and I commend all involved in securing this decision. Through the continued implementation of the Action Plan for Jobs, I am determined to ensure that we build on our multinational investments in Ireland, retain the jobs we have and create the additional jobs we need”.
Pat McLoughlin, Site Director of the plant in Sligo, acknowledged the significant contribution of the workforce.  “Today’s announcement is the culmination of many years of hard work by the entire team.  The workforce has shown tremendous effort, commitment and flexibility through a difficult period, increasing productivity by 40 per cent in the last three years.  This has been a key factor in the decision to choose Sligo for future development.”

David Pulman, President of Global Manufacturing and Supply at GSK, said: “We need an agile and flexible Supply Network – both internally and externally – to support growth and the rapid development of new product innovation.  Looking to the future, Sligo will play an important role in our Stiefel consumer business.”

Barry O’Leary, Chief Executive of the IDA added “IDA Ireland is delighted with GSK’s decision to reverse the closure of the Sligo site and to invest €10m in the transformation of its activities, which strongly endorses the commitment and flexibility of the local management and staff. A key focus for IDA Ireland is to attract investment to regional locations and to work closely with client companies to both retain and grow their presence.  IDA looks forward to continuing to work closely with GSK during this transition period and into the future.”

Over the coming weeks, management will meet with staff to discuss their future options.  The team is currently going through a redundancy programme, which will continue primarily on a voluntary basis in the short to medium term.

Other GSK sites currently supporting Stiefel consumer products will be unaffected by this decision.