Greenfield in jeopardy of losing animal health business


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GREENFIELD, Ind. — Officials in a small central Indiana city are awaiting a company’s decision on whether it will sell or spin off its animal health business, a move that could deliver a blow to the local economy.

If Eli Lilly and Co. officials were to sell or spin off Elanco Animal Health, there’s no guarantee the operation would remain in Greenfield, the Indianapolis Business Journal reported. The company has had a presence in the city since it built research laboratories in the late 19th century.

Lilly CEO David Ricks said last month that the company would likely announce a decision by July.

Elanco makes vaccines, antibiotics, food additives and other health products for livestock and pets. It employs about 775 at its campus in Greenfield, a 21,000-person city about 15 miles (24 kilometers) east of Indianapolis.

Mayor Chuck Fewell said the city would hate to lose the business.

“Elanco is a great corporate partner,” said Fewell.

Elanco’s revenue dipped 2 percent last year and analysts said it’s also losing market share to major competitors, including Zoetis and Bayer. The downturn came just as the company was expecting increased sales and profits, helped by its $5.4 billion purchase of Novartis’ animal health division in 2015.

Elanco officials are estimating 2018 sales to be “flat to slightly up.” But they said new and recent launches will gradually turn the business around

“We expect 2018 to be the year of a kind of transition as we continue to evolve our product mix against headwinds,” said Elanco President Jeff Simmons.

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