Amgen to Cut Up to 1,100 More Jobs

LOS ANGELES (Los Angeles Times/MCT) -

Biotech giant Amgen Inc. said Tuesday it will eliminate up to 1,100 additional jobs next year, as the Thousand Oaks, Calif., firm faces pressure to split into two.

Amgen previously revealed plans to cut about 2,900 jobs by the end of 2015. The new cuts — between 600 and 1,100 — could mean the elimination of 4,000 positions, about 20 percent of its global workforce.

The world’s largest independent biotech company has faced criticism from some on Wall Street who say it has grown inefficient compared to smaller competitors.

Last week, activist investor Daniel Loeb’s hedge fund, a major Amgen shareholder, suggested the company could benefit by splitting into two — one firm focused on established drugs and another “growth” company that would target drugs in development.

The updated consolidation plans came at an investor and analyst meeting, where Amgen revealed other steps to boost value to shareholders.

Amgen said it plans to increase its shareholder dividend by 30 percent in the first quarter of 2015.

The firm also expects to repurchase roughly $2 billion in shares by the end of next year.

Amgen said it should see sales in the $20.8 billion to $21.3 billion range next year, with earnings ranging from $9.05 to $9.40 per share.

Investors cheered the announcements Tuesday. Amgen shares closed up $8.99, or 6.1 percent, to $157.19.