Despite an announcement to the contrary, Pfizer’s manufacturing plant in the municipality of Barceloneta will remain open and may be assigned new products in the near future, said Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company Executive Director Antonio Medina.
The PRIDCO chief said the pharmaceutical giant confirmed the information.
“This is an important announcement,” Medina said. “The latest information we have from Pifzer is that new products are being considered for the plant.”
The Commonwealth executive attributed the company’s change of plans to PRIDCO’s strategy of cultivating close relationships with manufacturers.
As reported by NIMB, in November 2013, Pfizer announced the plant’s shutdown by the end of 2017, as part of a global company effort to better align manufacturing capacity with the future needs of its business.
After a thoughtful review, the company determined it had “excess capacity in its manufacturing network due to the changing global demand resulting from the loss of patent exclusivity and the achievement of greater efficiencies in manufacturing processes.”
Impact of ‘Pfizergan’
Back in November 2015, Pfizer and Allergan announced a definitive merger agreement in a stock transaction initially valued at approximately $160 billion. The company will operate under the Pfizer name and retain Allergan’s domicile in Ireland.
Medina said that it was not a foregone conclusion that local manufacturing plants would close as a result of the planned merger between Pfizer and Allergan (still Actavis in Puerto Rico.)
“Actavis has made a significant investment and has commitment to the two plants it has in Puerto Rico,” said Medina. “We will continue to work closely with either Pfizer or Teva.”
Medina still does not have the details of which company will keep the local plants. In March 2015, Actavis acquired Allergan, in a cash and equity transaction valued at approximately $70.5 billion. In July 2015, Allergan sold its generic pharmaceuticals business to Teva Pharmaceutical Industries for $40.5 billion.
Holding the fort
“Our strategy for this four-year term has been to preserve our industrial base, ensure expansions from companies already established in Puerto Rico and bring new industries and new jobs,” said Medina. “We’re proud to say that in 2015 we were able to accomplish this.”
First, Medina touted the sale of the two Merck manufacturing plants that the company had intended to close as examples of preserving the industrial base. Sanofi bought one of the plants — located in Barceloneta — and American Industrial Acquisition Company (AIAC) picked up the other, located in the municipality of Arecibo.
“We were able to save those jobs and keeps the plants running,” said Medina.
In terms of expansions, Medina cited Honeywell’s construction of a new Aerospace R&D facility in Puerto Rico to support app and software development as well as aeronautics engineering design. He also mentioned General Electric’s new facility — currently under construction in Arecibo — destined for the production of state-of-the-art industrial circuit breakers.
In the last three years, PRIDCO has attracted a number of new pharmaceutical companies to the island, including Neolpharma, Actavis (Manati, Fajardo), AIAC and Merial. A total of 9,000 validated new manufacturing jobs have been created with a $1 billion investment commitment, the agency said.