Merck To Shut Serono Unit's Swiss HQ

German drug and chemical maker plans to shut the Swiss headquarters of its Merck Serono pharmaceutical division -- cutting more than 500 jobs.

BERLIN (AP) -- German drug and chemical maker Merck KGaA says it plans to shut the Swiss headquarters of its Merck Serono pharmaceutical division as part of an efficiency drive -- cutting more than 500 jobs.

Merck said Tuesday that it plans to transfer more than 750 of the 1,250 jobs at Serono's Geneva headquarters to other Merck sites. It said it expects to cut 500 jobs in Geneva and another 80 at Swiss manufacturing sites "to create a leaner, more agile organization."

The move is part of a wider efficiency program that Merck, based in Darmstadt, Germany, launched in February. The company said that, after consulting with employees, it aims to start implementing the relocations and job cuts in Switzerland in the second half of this year.

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