Putney’s new owner cuts one-third of staff in Portland

Posted April 29, 2016, at 10:48 a.m.
Last modified April 29, 2016, at 2:26 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — The London-based buyer of Portland pet pharmaceutical startup Putney has laid off about one-third of the company’s 60 employees after closing the $200 million acquisition one week ago.

Ian Page, chief executive officer of Dechra Pharmaceuticals, confirmed the company cut 18 positions in an email to the Bangor Daily News Friday morning.

“We have an overlap of functionality with our existing U.S. business based in [Kansas] and had a duplication of functions, mainly in commercial and back office,” Page wrote in an email.

The newsletter Maine Startups Insider first reported news of layoffs at Putney Thursday. Founder and former company CEO Jean Hoffman told the newsletter the company cut approximately 17 positions.

“Putney was a loss-making business which we could not sustain given the high purchase price,” Page wrote.

The company reported about $50 million in revenue in 2015, up from about $30 million one year before, according to a statement from Dechra at the time of the purchase.

“The changes we have made will secure the future of the remaining employees and provide a solid base for growth,” Page wrote. “The team in Portland bring new skills to Dechra and we are committed to continuing the good work they have started.”

Representatives from Putney who commented on the sale did not respond to requests for comment on the layoffs Thursday. Spokeswoman Susan Hanley said in March that founder Hoffman’s exit was planned as the company’s investor Safeguard Scientific Inc. had sought an eventual return on its investment of about $15 million since 2011.

Hoffman told Maine Startups Insider that the new owners sought her departure before they took over the company, with no overlap.

 

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