Reports allege that Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) is holding talks with Lee County officials as it considers investing $100 million to expand a plant located in Sanford. The Pfizer plant had been downsized back in 2009.
While the project is not expected to inject a lot of new employment positions into the local economy, it would still lead to the creation of jobs numbering about 50. Some of these jobs are, however, high-paying as the average annual wage is $90,000, a figure which is significantly higher than the average yearly wage in Lee County which is approximately $38,116.
But while Lee County could be one of the possible locations for the plant, it is also understood that Pfizer is considering other locations including Massachusetts. Already, Pfizer has invested about $200 million towards expanding its Andover plant, where complex vaccines and biologics are manufactured.
In Lee County, Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) owns a manufacturing campus whose acreage is about 230 acres. There are around 450 people employed at this plant. Before it was downsized in 2009 following the merger of Pfizer and Wyeth, the plant had a headcount of 1,500 people.
A few weeks ago there was a public hearing held by officials from Lee County concerning incentive package aimed at economic development worth about $1.4 million for a secret project that was tentatively named ‘Project Panda’. Officials from the state of North Carolina would not reveal whether this was the Pfizer expansion project.
“While we’re often engaged in discussions with companies regarding the advantages North Carolina offers as a business location, we do not comment on any of those conversations until an announcement of a site decision has been publicly released,” said David Rhoades, the director of communications for the state’s commerce department.
But despite the refusal to reveal whether it was Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE), the fact that it could be the giant drug maker was lent credence by the fact that a member of the board for Lee County and who also works at Pfizer abstained from the meeting due to a possible conflict of interest.
On Tuesday shares of Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) fell by 1.05% to close the day at $33.99.
Note: This article is written by Adam Russell and originally published at Market Exclusive.