Lonza fires CEO as profit falls

Swiss drugs industry supplier Lonza has sacked its chief executive Stefan Borgas after profits for 2011 plunged by a third.

This content was published on January 25, 2012 - 15:19 and agencies

The Basel-based company said that 2012 would pose further challenges because of the current difficulties facing pharmaceutical firms.

Lonza, which has been affected by currency headwinds and volatile raw material prices, said that the board had decided to replace Borgas in the last 48 hours.

"CEOs have a responsibility to deliver on expectation and I think our company over the last few years has not fully lived up to the expectation," Lonza Chairman Rolf Soiron told a conference call on Wednesday. Soiron will step in as interim CEO.

Net profit dropped 33 per cent in 2011 to SFr190 million ($204 million), excluding the acquisition of US-based Arch Chemicals last year.

Lonza makes high-margin pharmaceutical ingredients for drugmakers like GlaxoSmithKline and Abbott but has also moved back into specialty chemicals.

The company said that it wanted to focus on delivering expectations and improving its returns on capital invested, although the environment in 2012 would remain tough.

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