The U.S.-based company said yesterday that it plans to put $167 million (€150 million) into a biopharmaceutical campus in County Cork, with construction slated to begin next year, according to Reuters.
The GE BioPark in Cork is due have 500 jobs when it’s fully operational. Ireland sports a 12.5% corporate tax rate; 9 of the top 10 global drug companies have an international base in Ireland, the news service reported.
“Ireland is a real hub for biopharmaceuticals, so it’s logical to do it there,” Kieran Murphy, chief executive for life sciences at GE Healthcare, told the news service. “It’s one of the key places people are going in the world, along with Singapore, Korea and China.”
Although GE doesn’t have any buyers for the units in Cork yet, Murphy said, “I don’t think it will take us very long to snag the first customer.”
GE’s “lab-in-a-box” complex will be 25% to 50% cheaper than a traditional biopharmaceutical plant, it said. The modular factories can be constructed in just 18 months rather than the 3 years it takes to build a standard plant.
The announcement comes weeks after a dispute with an Irish labor union prompted GE Healthcare to withdraw job offers to prospective employees just a day before they were to start at a $44.7 million facility in East Cork, Ireland.
A dispute with the Services Industrial Professional & Technical Union over moving the plant from a 3-shift-a-day scheme to 4 shifts prompted GE to rescind offers from would-be employees, some of which had inked contracts with the imaging giant.