After years of debate, contact lens manufacturer Bausch & Lomb finally opened an extension in its Waterford manufacturing plant. This brand new extension cost around €85 million and will create 125 new jobs in the community.
Ireland's leaders, including Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Tanaiste Frances Fitzgerald, were present at this new branch's opening ceremony. Varadkar said he was thankful Bausch & Lomb continues to believe in the economic potential of Ireland's southeast region. He told reporters that Bausch & Lomb's expanded operation was a "big vote of confidence in this Government's ambitions for Waterford."
When asked for a comment, Fitzgerald told journalists she felt Bausch & Lomb's commitment to Waterford was a huge boon for the local economy. She was especially thankful such a prominent company like Bausch & Lomb continues to believe in the strength of the Irish economy.
As locals no doubt recall, a few years ago Bausch & Lomb was considering closing operations in Waterford. The Canadian big pharma company Valeant, Bausch & Lomb's parent company, cut 200 jobs and wanted to slash pay by around 20 percent back in 2014.
After long negotiations with workers' unions, Valeant agreed to build a plant extension and to slightly lower the pay cut. Over the last few years, Valeant says they've added at least 300 new jobs to this plant.
Two groups who were extremely supportive of this plant extension were the IDA Ireland and the Department of Jobs, Enterprise, and Innovation (DJEI). Spokespeople from both agencies said they were extremely happy to hear of the new jobs created at the plant expansion.
Valeant CEO Joseph C. Papa said the larger plant in Waterford will dramatically help Bausch & Lomb meet increasing demand for its popular contact lenses. As Bausch & Lomb enters the competitive global market it will need to ramp up its production. In total, Valeant has invested €200 million in this Waterford plant's infrastructure.
Today, there are 1,300 people working at the Bausch & Lomb Waterford facilities.
Bausch & Lomb is an American company founded in 1853 in Rochester, New York. In addition to contact lenses, this company sells surgical IOLs and equipment. The company is now headquartered in Bridgewater, New Jersey and operates branches in over 35 countries.
As mentioned above, Valeant Pharmaceutical International now owns Bausch & Lomb. Valeant bought the contact lens manufacturer in 2013 for $8.7 billion. A few other companies Valeant owns include Salix Pharmaceuticals and Solta Medical. Headquartered in Laval, Québec, Valeant is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker VRX.