Life Sciences Company Bayer commits to the Thames Valley
The life sciences company, Bayer, has committed its long term future and expansion plans by relocating its UK headquarters to Green Park, Reading, Berkshire. The company has taken 80,000sqft of space in 400 South Oak Way on a 15-year lease. Following major refurbishment of the building, Bayer will carry out further fit-out to provide the company with state of the art facilities and flexible workspaces in the heart of the Thames Valley. The move is planned for January 2017. Bayer currently employs around 550 office based staff at its site in Newbury, Berkshire where it has been based since 1983. They will be making the move to Green Park as the company moves into their new premises.
Bayer is a Life Science company with a more than 150-year history and core competencies in the areas of health care and agriculture. The parent company works across Pharmaceuticals, Consumer Healthcare and Crop Science, developing new molecules for use in innovative products and solutions to improve the health of humans, animals and plants. Consumer Brands include Berocca, Rennie, Canestan, Clarityn, Germolene, Sanatogen and Alka-Seltzer. Its crop science business produces high-value seeds and innovative chemical and biological pest management solutions, and it also holds a worldwide leading position in its main therapeutic areas. Sales in 2015 reached the highest level in the company’s history, exceeding EUR 46 billion.
“We went through a number of stages before reaching a final decision”, said Ute Bockstegers, CFO at Bayer. “We started with a stakeholder exercise and workplace review to understand future business needs and working requirements, followed by a location/sector analysis to understand the broader property market and our options. Green Park came up top in relation to talent attraction and retention, impact on business operations, staff impact, quality, transport connectivity and local amenities. We obviously wanted to retain our staff, so chose to make West Berkshire our focus area”.
One of the innovations at Bayer’s new Green Park headquarters will be BayLab, a school laboratory for schoolchildren of different ages, which will enable primary and secondary school children to undertake experiments in a way that time pressures sometimes do not allow for in a school lab. An Inspiration Space will also provide interactive ways of finding out about Science. “Reading is certainly a hub of talent and the construction of the Science Park is a good example of how talent is being attracted to the area,” said Ute. “We look forward to being part of the new community.”
Ute spends considerable time supporting the business community in West Berkshire and the wider Thames Valley as a Non-Executive Director of the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (TVLEP), and Chair, Council South East Region of the CBI. She said: “We are sad to leave Newbury. However, we like the community feel of the Park with green spaces, buildings around the lake and the local events.”
The company shortlisted 13 potential sites and building options within the Thames Valley, and met with representatives of the Department of International Trade (DIT) (formerly UKTI) to explore opportunities for additional support. “Bayer’s decision to re-invest in the Thames Valley comes as the area has experienced a growing number of new investments and expansions from life science and healthcare companies”, commented Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Chief Executive, Paul Britton.
Rory Carson, Director-Asset Manager at Green Park said: “Green Park is home to some of the world’s largest brands and most successful companies across a variety of business sectors. Our reputation as a community where businesses and people can grow and flourish continues to attract new occupiers from across the South East, and from around the world. We are delighted that Bayer has decided to locate in Green Park and we can help them grow and expand.”
There are exciting times ahead for Bayer UK & Ireland with new innovations, processes, transformation and of course the move to Reading. With such a strong leader as Ute, there is no doubt that the company will be successful now and into the future.