BMS confirms job cuts at investor meeting

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Bristol-Myers Squibb confirmed on Wednesday that it would cut nearly 10% of its 43,000-member workforce. The drugmaker also announced plans to sell or close half of its 27 manufacturing plants across the globe, outsource some of its manufacturing and shrink its portfolio of 500 products by 60%.

Last week, 1,300 BMS employees were notified they would be losing their jobs. An additional 3,500 employees will be let go in 2008, under the overhaul that the company says will reduce expenses by $1.5 billion by 2010.

The drugmaker declined to say exactly where the layoffs would occur, other than an unspecified number had been notified at a biotechnology plant in East Syracuse, NY. Many of the 1,300 jobs already eliminated are in administrative positions like human resources, information technology and finance, the company said.

"It is difficult to see our valued colleagues leave the company, but right-sizing our workforce across all areas is critical to achieving our productivity goals and enhancing the competitive position of the company,” said BMS CEO James Cornelius in a statement. “While we are reducing headcount in certain functions, we will continue to invest in R&D, biologics and commercialization talent."

BMS has already announced it would be closing manufacturing plants in Colon, Panama, Mayguez, Puerto Rico and Barcelona, Spain.
And the company might also sell its baby formula business, Mead Johnson Nutritionals and its wound care products business, ConvaTec, which could fetch a price of about $13 billion, according to analysts.

Following its overhaul, BMS is expected to maintain only one floor at its Park Avenue, New York headquarters where it occupied 550,000 square feet as recently as 10 years ago. The company has been based in Manhattan since the 1940s.

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