Pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is investing £275 million into its drug manufacturing network across Britain, a major vote of confidence in British industry in the post-Brexit era.
FTSE 100-listed GSK announced on Wednesday that it would invest the sum across three sites in Durham, Hertfordshire, and Scotland. The investment will go towards increasing production and will “support delivery of its latest innovative respiratory and large molecule biological medicines.”
GSK, which has a market value of £81.3 billion, adds that: “The vast majority of these products will be for export to global markets.” Brexit supporters have argued that the fall in the pound to a 31-year-low against the dollar in the wake of the vote to leave the European Union could actually boost exports as it makes British goods look cheaper to overseas buyers.
However, a recent survey of British manufacturers found confidence in the sector at its worst since the financial crisis as a result of the EU referendum result.
GSK says: “The UK [is] an attractive location for investment in advanced manufacturing due to a number of factors including the skilled workforce, technological and scientific capabilities & infrastructure and a competitive corporate tax system.”
Andrew Witty, CEO of GSK, says in a statement:
“Today’s announcement reflects further investment to support our pharmaceutical pipeline and meet growing demand for our innovative portfolio of newly launched products. It is testament to our skilled UK workforce and the country’s leading position in life sciences that we are making these investments in advanced manufacturing here. From their manufacture in the UK, many of these medicines will be sent to patients around the world.”
GSK says the investment will create new jobs but doesn’t give a figure for how many exactly. The company employs 6,000 people across the UK.
Since Britain voted to leave the EU on June 23, business activity in the UK has been mixed. While most banks and economists are predicting a recession, two major corporate takeovers have been announced — ARM Holdings and VocaLink — and US bank Wells Fargo announced the acquisition of a £300 million new London headquarters.
In all cases, many people have suggested the fall in the pound could have played a part in making the assets more attractive to buyers, due to their reduced price tag.