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Friday, 10 August, 2001, 13:49 GMT 14:49 UK
Bayer to cut more than 4,000 jobs
A Bayer lab
Bayer will cut more than 4,000 jobs over the next four years
German chemicals and pharmaceutical giant Bayer on Friday had bad news for the third straight day, announcing more than 4,000 job cuts.

Two days previously, Bayer had recalled its blockbuster anti-cholesterol drug Baycol - a move that forced it to issue a profit warning and sent its share price down 18%.

"On Thursday we indicated we would cut 1,800 jobs in the polymers division, but we want to reduce by over 4,000 positions overall," Bayer spokesman Hans von Hochberg told BBC News Online.

"The cuts will be phased in from 2001 to 2005 and will hopefully be achieved through voluntary redundancies," he added.

The job losses will occur mainly in Bayer's healthcare division and are not as a direct result of the Baycol recall.

"It's too early to say if there will be job losses from Baycol," Mr von Hochberg said.

End of independence?

The withdrawal of Baycol, due to suspected links with 31 deaths in the United States, has raised the possibility the company might no longer be able to stay independent.

On Thursday, the company reported second-quarter results well below analyst expectations.

Analysts said on Friday the company indicated in a briefing the day before that it might take on a junior partner for pharmaceutical joint ventures, which would represent a major shift in strategy.

Up to now, the group has insisted it will not agree to a merger where it is a minority partner.

By 1400 GMT, Bayer shares were down 0.89% to 36.65 euros. They have now lost 19% over three days to hit a 21-month low.

See also:

09 Aug 01 | Business
Bayer confirms profits slump
08 Aug 01 | Business
Bayer shares plunge
27 Jun 01 | Business
Bayer warns on 2001 profits
22 Jun 01 | Business
Drug giant warns of lower profits
21 Jun 01 | Business
BASF shuts plants
21 Nov 00 | Business
Drugs - a high-risk business
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