In what has been the biggest jobs coup this year, Guidant Corporation is to create 1,000 new medical device manufacturing jobs in Clonmel, Tipperary. It will also result in the construction of a new 125,000 sq. ft. building.
Guidant designs, develops and manufactures minimally invasive products for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. The expansion in Clonmel is the result of Guidant now entering the higher value, next generation of stents. These new products are coated with a drug and when the stent is inserted in the body the drug is locally administered in a controlled release method to prevent the re-blocking of arteries. The Clonmel operation will have responsibility for preparing the new products bringing them from the R&D stage in the US to first time volume production.
The Tánaiste’s announcement comes as a major boost for the region as Guidant expects to create 500 new high quality manufacturing jobs over the next three years, with plans to add a further 500 new jobs as the operations develop.
The investment is supported by IDA Ireland and recruitment will commence in 2005, with the jobs requiring Leaving Certificate and third-level diploma, certificate and degree qualifications.
Announcing the investment, Tánaiste Mary Harney said: “This project will involve the manufacture of sophisticated, high value, development-intensive products for which Guidant is a world leader. The investment represents an important endorsement of Ireland’s on-going ability to attract large scale, technology driven projects. Securing this project for Ireland demonstrates yet again the country’s continuing competitiveness and sends a very positive signal to other international companies that Ireland is a leading location for such investment. When fully completed this development will mean that Guidant will double its local spending in the Irish economy from its current level of over €80m per annum.”
The Tánaiste added: “The new jobs will be in a broad range of areas including production, operations and quality control. There will be a requirement for people with qualifications in engineering, chemistry, biology and material sciences such as metals and polymer technology.”
The existing Guidant Clonmel facility currently employs over 1,000 people. It was established with IDA support in 1998 as a Cardiac Rhythm Management manufacturing site for pacemakers and defibrillators. In 1999 it added a Vascular Intervention manufacturing operation for bare non-drug stents, balloon catheters and associated products.
Indianapolis-headquartered Guidant markets its products in almost 100 countries and its revenue for 2003 was US$3.7bn, with a net profit of US$330m. It spent 14pc of revenue (€518m) on research and development and more than half of its revenue has been derived from products that are less than one year old.
By John Kennedy