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Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Novartis said Wednesday it aimed to slash more than 440 jobs in Britain, blaming industry-wide difficulties.
Novartis is considering closing its manufacturing site in Horsham, West Sussex, which would lead to the evaporation of 371 jobs, the company told AFP in an email, confirming a report by the FierceBiotech website.
The closure was needed as Novartis attempts to adapt to "a challenging healthcare marketplace," it said, stressing that the decision was still subject to consultations with employees and final approval by its UK board.
"We understand that this will be a difficult time for potentially affected employees, their families and the wider Horsham community given the links the company has in the area," Novartis said, vowing to do its utmost to "make the process as straightforward and smooth as possible."
Two years ago, Novartis announced plans to halt manufacturing at the site and to cut staff numbers there from 950 to 450 people, but the group said Wednesday it now also aimed to close a unit dedicated to respiratory research.
Novartis also said that cuts at its UK pharmaceuticals division in Frimley, Surrey, could impact another 72 jobs.
The company currently employs more than 3,000 people in Britain.