The new owner of a major animal healthcare plant in Dundee has said the skills of the workforce were a major factor in his decision to buy the plant.
Argenta founder Dr Doug Cleverly said he had been struck by how talented a workforce he had found at the closure-threatened former Elanco site at Dundee’s Dunsinane Industrial Estate.
The New Zealander said Auckland-based Argenta – a global animal health focused pharmaceutical contract research and manufacturing organisation – had been looking for a European site after seeing its client base in the region expand.
When the opportunity to acquire the Dundee plant from Elanco arose following a review, Dr Cleverly jumped on a plane.
“In the simplest sense, the move into Europe was all about the geography,” Dr Cleverly said.
“That was the first test to consider, but having been here I was hugely impressed with the calibre of the staff and the skill set at the site that we can immediately benefit from leveraging.
“They (the Dundee facility) operate internal continuous improvement initiatives and they have really well-defined programmes that we will look to leverage to improve our efficiency.”
Dr Cleverly made his first visit to Scotland last spring but he said his knowledge of the Dundee unit went back much further.
“I first heard about the facility when it was Grampian Healthcare,” he said.
“I was working with a company that had an association with Grampian and I followed its transition from Grampian to Novartis and then to Elanco.
“So I knew about the site and its capabilities when we were proactively looking for a facility in Europe.
“We have a very positive and close association with Elanco and we said if they were looking to divest a site with this capability then to let us know at the outset.
“So we got in at the earliest stage.”
Argenta announced it had agreed to buy the plant from Elanco in February and the formal handover took place at the start of this month.
The move secured the jobs of more than 100 staff in Dundee.
Dr Cleverly said there will be no delay in assimilating Dundee into the Argenta portfolio.
The immediate plan is to leverage the group’s continuing association with Elanco to bring new products to the site and to seek out new revenue streams.
Dr Cleverly added: “My brain is now on to getting out and finding more business opportunities.”