It would cost Roche in the region of over €300m to dispose of their Clarecastle manufacturing site which makes its sale to another pharma giant the most likely and preferred outcome according to well placed sources in Roche and the pharmaceutical industry. Due to the high costs of actually closing the plant, Roche are expected to make the sale of the plant a particularly attractive proposition for potential new owners. It is understood that there has already been a site visit to the Clarecastle facility by prospective buyers in recent weeks. Over the last four years Roche Ireland has invested over €100m in the Clarecastle plant.
“I would equate it with someone doing up a house before selling it,” a well placed Roche employee told The Clare People this week.
“I don’t think closing the plant can happen, it would cost Roche hundreds of millions and the plant would have to be turned back into a greenfield site. That would take years. That cost would be reflected in the sale price and this makes the facility a very attractive one for new owners,” he added.
Since Thursday’s announcement that Roche would exit manufacturing in Clarecastle there has been real fears over the future of over 240 jobs at the plant, which has operated in the village since 1974. Senior management were reportedly stunned at the decision taken by Roche Global HQ in Basel, Switzerland. Clarecastle accounted for €1.4bn of Roche sales in 2014. Roche purchased the Clarecastle plant from Syntex in 1994. While potential new owners may require new manufacturing requirements, the plant would remain in the pharma industrial sector and the employees are expected to be a crucial component of any perspective sale plant sale.
“I would be very confident that new owners will be found for the Roche Plant in Clarecastle,” said Deputy Joe Carey, a Clarecastle native himself. “While Thursday’s announcement was a shock, the plant has undergone serious investment in recent years and that, coupled with the cost to Roche of returning it to a greenfield site, will make it a very attractive proposition for another pharmaceutical company.
“I would expect it to be sold and hopefully job losses kept to a minimum,” he added.

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