CSL consider moving manufacturing offshore

A combination of ongoing industrial relations issues and a strong Aussie dollar have prompted healthcare manufacturer CSL to consider moving manufacturing operations offshore.

The AFR reported the company was considering Singapore and Switzerland for the manufacturing of its new products but a final decision is yet to be made.

“It could be Australia but it could be Switzerland or Singapore. Things like industrial relations issues and strong currency come into our investment decisions”, CSL chief scientist Andrew Cuthbertson said.

Cuthbertson added that the company would keep R&D applications in Australia, but convincing the board to invest more into Australian operations has become difficult.

However, CSL did recently upgrade its Broadmeadows facility in Victoria and are expected to increase research and development spending by 15 per cent this year to more than $400 million, the majority of which has been allocated to new product development.

“We are starting work [at Broadmeadows] and it’s positive. This is an R&D facility for late-stage biotech products…but we need to make a decision about where we put the final side of manufacturing,” Cuthbertson said.

Medicines Australia chairman said Mark Masterson in a speech to the National Press Club that a strong drugs industry could help Australia grow beyond the mining boom, and the industry was showing more promise than other parts of the economy.

Data published earlier this year by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) supports Masterson’s comments.

Pharmaceuticals are now firmly established as the number one "substantially transformed" manufacturing export, beating the car industry in 2011-12 with $2.5 billion in exports and the wine sector with $2 billion.

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