Lonza Closes Irish Plant as Ridinger Presses Ahead With Cuts

Lonza Group AG (LONN) said it will close a factory in Ireland as Chief Executive Officer Richard Ridinger continues to streamline the global manufacturing base of the drug-ingredients maker.

Lonza will close a plant in June at Swords in Ireland that makes marine anti-fouling paints and metal-working fluids, it said in a statement. Lonza has cut 140 jobs since the end of last year as it works through plans to reduce operations at a plant in Visp, Switzerland, Ridinger said on a conference call.

First-quarter results were in line with expectations, Ridinger said, reiterating guidance for further growth in sales and earnings before interest and taxes for the full year. Lonza, based in Basel, Switzerland, doesn’t publish financial results for the first quarter.

Lonza’s chief is undertaking a global review of manufacturing sites, as he tackles net debt that spiralled from 1.1 billion francs ($1.2 billion) at the end of 2010 to more than 2.6 billion francs a year later when the company bought water-treatment chemicals-maker Arch Chemicals for $1.35 billion.

Lonza shares fell 0.6 percent to 64.95 Swiss francs at 10:57 a.m. in Zurich trading.

The company will cut debt by about 200 million francs annually over the next years after cutting net debt 13 percent in 2012 to 2.3 billion francs, Chief Financial Officer Toralf Haag said April 9.

The Swords plant, which has 32 employees and 11 contractors, was part of the Arch Chemicals business acquired by Lonza in October 2011. Manufacturing of the plant’s products will be moved to the U.S. and China, Lonza said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick Winters in Zurich at pwinters3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Thiel at sthiel1@bloomberg.net

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