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Sean Ryan is associate editor of Real Estate New Jersey.

(To read more on the industrial market, click here.)

WHITEHOUSE STATION, NJ-Merck & Co. Inc. plans to eliminate 7,000 jobs and five of its 31 manufacturing facilities over the next three years, as part of a global restructuring program. Additional details were not disclosed, aside from half the job cuts will come from US operations. The locally based company says the effort is designed to reduce the cost structure, increase efficiency and enhance competitiveness.

The five facilities facing elimination will either be sold or closed. Operations at remaining locations will be reduced. Additionally, Merck plans to close one basic research site and two preclinical development sites. The locations of these facilities have similarly not been disclosed.

The 7,000 jobs represent 11% of Merck’s global work force. Expectations are for the total restructuring to save between $3.5 billion and $4 billion between 2006 and 2010. Merck president and CEO Richard T. Clark calls the cuts “an important first step in positioning Merck to meet the challenges the company faces now and in the future.” Merck recorded Vioxx withdrawal costs of $141 million in the third quarter 2004. The company had been named as a defendant in approximately 6,400 lawsuits regarding Vioxx.

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