Pfizer Will Lay Off 750 Workers at Pearl River Site in 2017, Inks New Land Deal

Pfizer Will Lay Off 750 Workers at Pearl River Site in 2017, Inks New Land Deal
May 28, 2015
By Riley McDermid, Breaking News Sr. Editor

Pfizer Inc. will eventually cut more than 500 employees at Pearl River, N.Y site by 2017, the company confirmed Thursday, despite recently inking a 200-acre purchase-sale agreement with Industrial Realty Group to expand its footprint there.

The Pearl River location is where Pfizer manufactures its Prevnar vaccine, but a spokeswoman for Pfizer said that when vaccine production ends in 2017, the company will slash its headcount from 1,300 employees to approximately 550 employees. Susan Rutledge, site communications lead for Pfizer’s Pearl River campus, confirmed the eventual job cuts.

Pfizer declined to disclose deal terms for the real estate deal. The location is the former headquarters of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, but has undergone multiple reincarnations since Pfizer acquired it.

The news was first reported by Pfizer said it expects the deal to close by August 2015 and that the agreement applies to 25 acres of the 222 acres, which it hopes to subdivide into an R&D site.

The new land agreement was disclosed during a meeting by Rockland County Executive Ed Day and Rockland Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Michael J. DiTullo during a meeting of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors Commercial Investment Division.

REDC is pleased that Pfizer and IRG have signed a PSA for the purchase of the Pearl River campus in Rockland County,” DiTullo told the news source. “IRG has a very successful record of repositioning corporate campuses and industrial sites into dynamic, mixed-use high-tech corporate parks. REDC has been and will continue to be part of the team with Pfizer, JLL, IRG and the community as we transition the 2.6 million square feet from a single use to multi-use world class life sciences park.”

“Also, the fact that Pfizer is establishing its Center of Excellence in Rockland and occupying about 850,000 square feet for its North American R&D functions says a lot about Rockland County’s ability to be a world class competitor.”

The company has had a rocky history in the area.

In January Pfizer informed the New York State Department of Labor that it will be laying off workers at its plant in Pearl River. The filing was made on Jan. 15, and the reason cited for the layoffs was company restructuring. A total of 50 people will be affected as the layoffs roll out through April.

Ten of the 50 people are non-union workers, while 40 workers belong to the Local 95c of the International Chemical Workers Union and the United Food and Commercial Workers union, according to The Journal News.

On Oct. 22, 2014, Pfizer announced that it would be laying off 16 employees at the same plant in Pearl River, N.Y., as cited in a filing with the vNew York State Department of Labor. A total of 13 of these employees were not a part of any union at the time of the announcement. The plant had a total of 1,330 workers when the news broke, and company restructuring was deemed the reason for the layoffs.

New York isn’t the only area where Pfizer has seen its numbers boom, then dwindle. Since 2013, the company has been sizing down its staff at its Groton laboratories in Connecticut. Back in 2011, Pfizer had 4,500 employees at its Groton and New London locations. It announced that it would be reducing its workforce to less than 3,400 around this time, and by 2013, only 3,700 employees were at the Groton campus.

Pfizer Spokeswoman Lauren Starr said at the time that there were no further reductions planned at the Groton location, which she said was of “central importance” to the company.

John Beauregard, executive director of the Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board, told The Day that the job reductions by Pfizer meant hard times for the rest of the labor force. At the time, the region was still recovering from the 2009 recession.

Will PfizerKline Become the Next Pharma Player?
The speculation surrounding a possible bid from Pfizer Inc. for struggling GlaxoSmithKline is heating up, after one closely-watched biotech analyst said in a note last week that Pfizer buying the company would “unlock access to its balance sheet and improve its tax situation.”

Gregg Gilbert, a biotech analyst at Deutsche Bank, wrote in a note to investors “Introducing PfizerKline” that he thinks a deal would be “materially accretive” for both companies. Gilbert estimated that a bid priced at $29.86 a share, via half stock and half cash, which would push up Pfizer’s earnings per share by 10 percent to 16 percent beginning in 2016.

“We believe that the company has a sense of urgency to create value by leveraging the power of its balance sheet to do needle-moving deals,” Gilbert wrote. “Since media reports in the past have pointed to the potential for a Pfizer/GSK combination, we are revisiting that theme.”

We want to know, dear readers, if you agree? Should Glaxo continue going it alone, or might Pfizer buy it and create one of the world’s largest pharma players in history?

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