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*The Roche plant in Clarecastle. Photograph: Martin Connolly

THE BILL to Swiss pharma giant, Roche in decommissioning and demolishing its Co Clare plant has totalled €23.3 million over the last two years.
New accounts show that Roche Ireland Ltd last year recorded losses of €24.17m as its bill concerning its decision to exit manufacturing here continued to mount. The loss of €24.17 million last year followed losses of €34.55 million in 2020.

The plant was once one of the most prestigious places of employment in the Midwest and the Swiss-owned pharma giant announced its decision in 2016 to shut down its Clarecastle plant with the loss of 240 jobs.

After the firm failed to secure a buyer for the pharma site, it set about decommissioning the site and demolishing its fine chemical manufacturing plant “to a brown field status”. In line with the plant’s closure plan, the company ceased all manufacturing in 2019 and completed all sales of product by January 2020.

The €16.8 million decommissioning and demolition bill last year follows a €6.5 million cost under that heading in 2020. The company recorded zero revenues last year compared to €5.8 million in 2020.

In addition to the decommissioning and demolition costs, the firm last year spent an additional €4.29 million on environmental costs. This follows a spend of €4.82 million under that heading in 2020. The directors state that in March 2020, the company proceeded with its planned redundancy programme and with 100 per cent of the workforce departed since May of last year.

The directors state that it is continuing with its plan to decommission and demolish its assets and has successfully transitioned from a manufacturer to a construction site commencing the decontamination and demolition works in 2020 that will continue until 2026 – one year later than what was anticipated last year.

Directors’ pay last year increased from €414,000 to €786,000.

At the end of last December, Roche Ireland had shareholder funds of €2.4 million. The Roche Group, headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, is active in over 150 countries and employs more than 88,000 people worldwide.

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