WILL JOIN NEW BOARD Brent Saunders, Allergan’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive. Pic: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland
WESTPORT’S largest employer, Allergan, says it remains committed to Ireland despite the company’s acquisition by rival company AbbVie in a €63 billion (€55.3 billion) deal.
The takeover of Allergan was announced last Tuesday. If the proposed merger takes place, it will form the fourth-biggest drugs manufacturer in the world. Allergan’s tax base will return to the US on completion of the deal.
The Allergan Westport facility, which opened in 1977 and is best known for the production of leading cosmetic drug Botox, is the largest and most complex campus in the Allergan global network. The company announced a €65 million investment in its Westport facilities, earlier this year.
It is unclear how the takeover will impact on jobs, but in a statement, Allergan said it remains committed to Ireland.
“At this point in the process it is business as usual. It is too early to provide specific details on the impact of the deal in specific markets, other than to say that Allergan remains committed to Ireland,” the statement read.
The deal sees AbbVie take control of the biggest name in medical aesthetics, in a bid to diversify to reduce its reliance on blockbuster arthritis treatment Humira. AbbVie has been under pressure to diversify its portfolio, as Humira – the world’s best-selling drug – loses its patent protection in 2023, and it is already in competition with cheaper versions in Europe.
AbbVie employs more than 700 people at five manufacturing and commercial sites across Ireland, including one in Sligo. News of the takeover saw AbbVie shares fall by more than 15 percent last week.
Westport-based councillor Peter Flynn, who worked as Allergan’s European Finance Director until 2017, said he would be ‘optimistic’ about the takeover by AbbVie.
“As with any acquisition or merger, there is always a degree of uncertainty on how all will unfold, but AbbVie is a highly reputable company with a long history in Ireland, so I would be very optimistic overall. In the last 12 months alone, Allergan had lost nearly 50 percent of its value, so the agreed selling price at close to $190 per share will be welcome news to a lot of employees.
“From a Westport perspective, you would be very hopeful that AbbVie will continue to invest in Botox and in the Pharma business, with the site continuing to build on the expertise and success that has built up over the last 40 years,” Cllr Flynn said.
The takeover comes after Pfizer and Allergan terminated their $160 billion merger plan back in 2016, following the US government’s crack down on corporate tax inversions. As part of the deal, Allergan shareholders will receive 0.8660 AbbVie shares and $120.30 in cash for each share held, for a total consideration of $188.24 per Allergan share.
AbbVie chief executive Richard Gonzalez (65) will head up the combined company and remain chairman and chief executive up until 2023. Allergan chief executive Brent Saunders will join AbbVie’s board upon completion of the deal.