Saturday, February 02, 2008

Allergan to close Irish factory, move to Costa Rica

By Fergal O'Brien

(Bloomberg) - Allergan Inc., the maker of the wrinkle smoother Botox, will close a plant in Ireland, eliminating 300 jobs, and transfer production to a factory in Costa Rica.

The move probably will cost as much as $65 million through 2009, Irvine, California-based Allergan said in an e-mailed statement today. The closing "has been made necessary by the high level of investment required to maintain competitiveness at the Arklow manufacturing location" in Ireland, Raymond Diradoorian, vice president of Allergan's global technical operations, said in the statement.

Ireland has lost about 10 percent of its manufacturing jobs over the last six years, as labor costs climb. Jacob Fruitfield Food Group, the Irish maker of Mikado and Kimberley cookies, said on Jan. 25 plans to halt production at a Dublin factory at a cost of 220 jobs.

"Throughout the country we have had a series of announcements of job losses particularly in the manufacturing sector," said Liz McManus, a spokeswoman for the opposition Labour Party. "This must ring alarm bells for the government."

Enterprise Minister Micheal Martin, who said he regretted the loss of Allergen jobs in Wicklow, said the company remained committed to its facility in Westport, western Ireland. While Allergan manufactures silicon implants in Wicklow, the company makes botox in Westport, where it employs 750 people.

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