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Merz Pharma establishing HQ in Raleigh

RALEIGH German skin care and specialty products company Merz Pharma Group announced Wednesday it will move its North American headquarters from High Point to Raleigh and bring 250 jobs here.

The company notified its 193 employees in High Point on Tuesday it will wind down its Triad operation in the next 12 months as it decides which employees will be transferred to Raleigh and how many people it will have to hire locally to backfill vacant positions.

However, because it is creating only 50-some new positions in the state, Merz did not qualify for financial incentives, Gov. Pat McCrory said after presiding over the announcement ceremony at the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce.

“I clearly explained to them why they were not getting incentives – because their major presence was already here in North Carolina,” McCrory said. “And one thing I don’t do is get involved with competitions within the state for incentives. And neither did Raleigh, I might add, and that was the professional and the right thing to do.”

Merz asked for assistance but the incentives weren’t a priority, said Michael McMyne, Merz’s head of North American operations. “We recognize that it was an in-state move.”

The company looked at multiple sites in two states in addition to North Carolina, McMyne said.

He declined to reveal which sites were considered other than the Greensboro area.

Founded in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1908, Merz is a privately held, family-owned company.

It employs about 800 in North America and about 2,500 worldwide.

Merz – pronounced “Murz” in the United States and “Mehrts” in Germany – decided to move because it outgrew its High Point office.

The Triangle was appealing as a nationally renowned life sciences hub with proximity to major research universities, said Merz CEO William Humphries.

“We were like an anthill, just grew out of space,” Humphries said. “We’re really growing like wild.”

Merz generated $1.3 billion in revenue last year and expects to increase North American sales from $230 million in 2012 to $450 million in 2015, McMyne said.

The company has also made five acquisitions in the past two years, including the 2012 purchase of Onmel, a toenail antifungal, from global pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline.

Merz specializes in over-the-counter and prescription creams, ointments and injectibles in the fields of dermatology, neurology and metabolic disorders; it has about 15 core products that treat fungal infections, scars, aging wrinkles and Alzheimer’s dementia, among other conditions.

The Raleigh headquarters will be located in a three-story office building on Six Forks Road and will house all operations except manufacturing, which is handled out of a facility in Wisconsin.

The Raleigh office will include sales, marketing, compliance, finance, IT, human resources and research and development.

Murawski: 919-829-8932
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