The loss of a significant contract has left West Pharmaceutical Services wielding the axe at one of its UK facilities.
The firm has indicated that 90 jobs - around one fifth of its UK workforce - will be lost as part of a phased discontinuation of one of the rubber components produced at its St Austell, Cornwall, plant, although there are no plans to shut the facility.
"The customer decided to take their business elsewhere when we could not reach commercial agreement," said a statement provided to Outsourcing-Pharma by the firm.
When asked for further details on the nature of the lost contract, a spokesperson from the company said: "At this point it is inappropriate for West to comment."
However, it is understood that the company's two factories in St Austell undertake compression moulding and plastic injection moulding to make products such as syringe plungers, blood tube stoppers, dropper bulbs, infusion stoppers and seats and gaskets for metered dose inhalers.
West also has a tooling factory in Bodmin and a distribution warehouse in Roche although the firm indicated that none of these operations, both based in Cornwall, will be affected by the downgrade.
The job losses will occur in the second half of this year and will be facilitated via redundancies and a reduction of temporary agency employees, said the firm, adding that it is currently in the process of setting up an employee support programme for its affected employees.
Meanwhile, West management is currently "assessing other opportunities to reduce the long-term effect on the Cornwall business."
On the flipside, with Asia increasingly becoming the destination of choice for manufacturers and the domestic market blossoming, West recently singled out its Singapore facility for a multi-million dollar expansion.
The firm earmarked $30m (€22.3m) to expand and improve its plant in Jurong in the west of the country, which manufactures stoppers for injection and lyophilisation, plungers for disposable and pre-filled syringes, metal seals for secondary closure systems and other medical device components .
The upgrades to the plant are due to be complete by 2010, and will result in a 30 per cent increase in the company's Singapore production. The investment will add water processing systems and clean room processes, as well as equipment to improve efficiency, quality and safety.
The site already manufactures up to several billion units annually depending on the product range, and the added capacity will significantly increase this output, the firm said.