GlaxoSmithKline Announces Plan to Sell Aiken Location

From Aiken Standard (SC) (April 15, 2011)


April 15--The global pharmaceutical and health care company GlaxoSmithKline announced Thursday plans to sell its Aiken manufacturing site, which employs 210 people.

A company spokeswoman said that the company's intention is to find a buyer who will be willing to keep the location, the equipment and the employees.

The decision was made based on the company's plan to divest several of its over-the-counter brands -- including alli, Beano, Ecotrin, Phazyme, Sominex and Tagamet/Stomedine -- which are manufactured at the Aiken location, according to global communications manager Karen Brown-Tyson.

"This particular site actually manufactured a number of those brands which we are looking to divest, so it wasn't based on the location or the people or anything like that," said Brown-Tyson.

The site plans to continue functioning as it typically does until a sale is made, which Brown-Tyson said will hopefully happen by the end of the year.

"We'll wait patiently until we find a buyer," Brown-Tyson said.

Economic Development Partnership Director Will Williams said that he hopes whoever purchases the facility will be inclined to follow through with GSK's hope to keep the equipment and staffing as is, but he acknowledges that it depends on the negotiation points.

Williams said the best case scenario would be that the buyer would purchase the company, decide to keep it in the area and grow the operation. The negative is that the buyer's plan and intentions for the future of the company and its employees are unknown.

"It could potentially affect [Aiken County] in a positive or negative way, but we're going to do everything we can to make sure it is impacted in a positive way," Williams said.

Williams said that GSK, which has been in the area for more than 30 years and has been a good corporate citizen to Aiken County. Among other things, Williams said, the company allowed its employees to take one paid vacation day off per month, on the condition that they used the time off to participate in a community service activity.

Site director for the Aiken location Carson Sublett said in a press release Thursday that the decision to sell the Aiken site was a strategic one based upon the future of the business, and was a difficult decision to make.

"The Aiken site, and more importantly the staff, continue to have an outstanding reputation in GSK and with regulators from many regions of the world," said Sublett. "While this decision is creating change for all of us in Aiken, I know the Aiken site will continue to build upon the history of success that is characteristic of the site, and most importantly, the staff that I am blessed to lead."

The Aiken site, located at 65 State Highway 1693, will continue to manufacture all of the brands that it currently manufactures until a buyer is found, Brown-Tyson said.

Contact Anna Dolianitis at adolianitis@aikenstandard.com.

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Copyright (c) 2011, Aiken Standard, S.C.

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Posted: April 2011


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