Monsanto to shut three R+D centres next year

Chicago | Reuters –– Agrichemical company Monsanto plans to shutter three research and development centers in 2016 with a loss of about 90 jobs, it said Monday, as it restructures operations to cut costs in a slumping agricultural commodity market.

The centers are in Middleton, Wisconsin, and Mystic, Connecticut, both of which focus on seed trait development research, and Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, which focuses on research on plant screening and phenotyping.

The company plans to close the Middleton center in the first half of 2016, and the Mystic and Research Triangle Park locations in the second half of the year.

The three research centres currently employ 155 people. A Monsanto spokesman said the company plans to move about 65 of those jobs to its Chesterfield Research Village in the St. Louis area.

Workers at the three centres were told about the cuts on Monday. Employees who are offered a job in St. Louis but decide not to take it will be given a severance package, the company said. Other affected workers will also be given a severance package, including pay, extended benefits and educational assistance, among other things.

Monsanto, which owns the facilities in Wisconsin and Connecticut, said it is looking for buyers for those properties and for a replacement tenant for its leased property in North Carolina.

Monsanto currently has about 22,500 employees at more than 400 facilities worldwide in over 60 countries. Earlier this month, Monsanto said it planned to cut 2,600 jobs and restructure its operations in a bid to cut costs. These planned overall job cuts would affect 11.6 per cent of its regular workforce.

P.J. Huffstutter reports on the agriculture sector for Reuters from Chicago.

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