Roche plans $300M expansion, 100 new jobs

Roche Diagnostics Corp. plans to spend $300 million on an expansion of its Indianapolis headquarters, creating 100 jobs by 2017, the company said Wednesday.

The city of Indianapolis has offered Roche a $24 million tax abatement, over 10 years, to help offset the cost of a new commercial education center and to do major refurbishments of buildings on its existing campus, as well as to install new equipment in its manufacturing plant, which makes chemical strips for Roche's blood glucose monitors for diabetics.

Construction of the education center, where about 1,500 customers from across the nation will be trained annually, is set to begin this fall.

The overall investment will total $300 million over 10 years. Roche promised to add the jobs to accomodate growth in its strip manufacturing plant as well as in its overall operations.

Roche currently employs nearly 3,000 workers at its Indianapolis campus, which is the headquarters for its North American operations. The campus manages the sales and marketing of Roche's laboratory analyzers sold to hospitals and academic medical research institutes, as well as fluid analyzers used in physician offices and by patients in their own homes.

The Indianapolis campus is also home to human resources, finance and some IT services for all its North American sites, which include outposts in New Jersey, California and Canada.

"For U.S. diagnostics and diabetes care, Indianapolis is our home. So we’re going to stay here," said Tom Adkins, site manager for Roche Diagnostics' Indianapolis campus, in an interview. Back in late 2008, Roche leaders at the company's global headquarters in Basel, Switzerland, had considered moving the company's headquarters to one of its other campuses near the U.S. coasts.

Roche Diagnostics' North American sales in 2011 totaled 2.4 billion Swiss francs, or about $2.7 billion, which was an increase of 4 percent over 2010, excluding the impact of fluctuating currency exchange rates.

The North American division accounts for one quarter of Roche's global diagnostic sales, which last year totaled 9.7 billion Swiss francs, or about $10.8 billion. Global growth in 2011 for Roche Diagnostics' dales was 6 percent, excluding any impact from exchange rates.

"This is really to help us continue that growth and sustain that growth.," Adkins said of the expansion.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. offered Roche up to $2 million in performance-based tax credits and up to $300,000 in training grants based on the company's job-creation plans.

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