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DULUTH: Novartis to lay off 2,000 workers | Business

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DULUTH: Novartis to lay off 2,000 workers

DULUTH, Ga. -- Drug maker Novartis will lay off 2,000 workers company-wide in the next three to five years, the company announced Tuesday.

Novartis employs about 121,000 people. Its CIBA Vision unit is headquartered in Duluth, while the company itself is based in Basel, Switzerland; it will shutter two facilities in that country as well as one in Italy.

There also will be layoffs in the United States. Company spokeswoman Julie Masow did not provide a specific breakout for U.S. operations, but indicated the layoffs would be mostly in Switzerland.

"While our performance at Novartis continues to be strong, we are facing difficult and uncertain external headwinds," she wrote in an email. "The financial crisis has forced governments around the world to cut prices of medicines, and health-care reform is targeting companies like ours."

The layoffs would be offset by 700 new positions in "low cost and other countries," according to the company's third quarter earnings statement.

The layoffs were announced in that earnings filing, in which Novartis reported $14.7 billion in net sales, up 18 percent from the same quarter last year. For a bottom line figure, Novartis reported $3.5 billion of net income in the quarter, up 12 percent from $3.1 billion last year.

A weak dollar helped in net sales, Novartis said, contributing a six percent increase over last year. Other sales were up from recently launched products, which contributed $3.6 billion, or 25 percent, of total net sales for Novartis and grew 31 percent over the previous-year quarter.



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