Bayer to control 25% of its global sales from Barcelona

The German chemical and pharmaceutical company has picked Barcelona to provide shared services to its subsidiaries in Greece, Turkey and Latin America, which account for 25% of the total group sales. Bayer’s Shared Service Centre in the Catalan capital will expand its tasks and responsibilities by taking over the accounting, controlling and IT services for these geographical areas. The expansion will take place over 2014 and the centre will pass from being in charge of 11 countries to 22, managing over 50 Bayer subsidiaries. The General Manager of Barcelona’s Centre, Erik Schonebeck, stated the project would “consolidate” the 300 existing jobs in the Catalan capital but no further new jobs would be created in the short-run. Barcelona hosts one of Bayer’s 5 global headquarters.

Erik Schonebeck, General Manager of Bayer's Barcelona Centre (by E. Romagosa)
Erik Schonebeck, General Manager of Bayer's Barcelona Centre (by E. Romagosa) / ACN


November 19, 2013 08:03 PM

Sant Joan Despí (ACN).- Bayer’s Shared Service Centre in Barcelona will expand its tasks and responsibilities by taking over the accounting, controlling and IT services for subsidiaries in Greece, Turkey, and Latin America. Bayer’s Barcelona offices will expand their geographical sphere of influence from 11 to 22 countries and manage the services of over 50 Bayer subsidiaries, representing 25% of the total group sales. The Catalan capital’s centre will take over the new tasks over 2014. Barcelona hosts one of Bayer’s 5 global headquarters, together with Berlin (where the company is based), Gdansk (Poland), Shanghai (China) and Manila (Philippines). The General Manager of the Catalan centre, Erik Schonebeck, said the project would “consolidate” the 300 existing jobs in Barcelona. However, he warned that it would not lead to any further job creation, at least not in 2014. Schonebeck announced the news in a press conference held on Tuesday at the Bayer headquarters in Greater Barcelona, located in Sant Joan Despí.

The Barcelona centre has been chosen by the direction of the Bayer Group to take on new tasks of added value. Apart from providing shared accounting services for Bayer firms and subsidiaries in Europe, the Barcelona-based staff will be assigned new responsibilities in the fields of cost and billing control, as well as information technology.

Along these new responsibilities, Barcelona’s Shared Service Centre will also broaden its geographical range by managing firms and companies outside Western-Europe. From 2014, Bayer will control from the Catalan capital new strategic markets, notably in Southern Europe and Latin America. The offices in Barcelona, where the German company has its headquarters for Spain, will now be in charge of providing shared services to Greece and Turkey alongside 9 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, including Mexico, Colombia and Argentina. However, Barcelona will not be assigned Brazil’s huge market.

With these growing responsibilities, Bayer’s Barcelona centre will provide accounting, controlling and IT services to 25% of the total turnover of the group worldwide. This year, the Barcelona centre is already controlling 20% of the group’s sales.

Barcelona Centre chosen for its high efficiency and its proximity with Latin America

For the director of Barcelona’s service centre (SCB), Erik Schonebeck, this project shows the commitment of the pharmaceutical group to the centre and more specifically to the professionals who work in Barcelona. “We are adding value to the tasks performed and developing new ones in the field of information technologies, which will put the Barcelona centre in an ideal place”, he added.

Schonebeck explained that Barcelona’s level of competitiveness was equivalent to the rest of the company’s shared service centres and that so far none of these centres had taken over the management of Latin America-based subsidiaries. He added that Barcelona had been chosen for the physical, cultural and language proximity between Spain and Latin America, as well as because of the workers’ dedication and efficiency.

This high level of competitiveness, according to him, has been reached thanks to a good balance between “quality, cost and service proximity” while constantly looking to combine new added values ​​and process optimization.

The growing responsibilities will “consolidate” existing jobs

When he was asked if the new tasks implemented would lead to hiring new staff in the upcoming months, Schonebeck denied such a possibility. “We are not considering additional contracts” he stated, adding that only some specific contracts resulting from the company's regular rotation were to be expected.

In this respect, the General Manager of Barcelona’s Shared Centre said that the project did “consolidate” the current staff, formed of over 300 employees from 32 different countries with their average age of 37 years old. He added that according to him, these new responsibilities “were necessary” in order to maintain “sustainable” employment.