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Sanofi to spare Toulouse in restructuring - minister

PARIS, Oct 10 (Reuters) - French drug maker Sanofihas dropped plans to exit its research laboratory in thesouthern town of Toulouse as part of a reorganisation of itsFrench research operations, Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourgsaid on Wednesday.

"Sanofi has said the Toulouse centre is not part of itsrestructuring plan anymore, except for infectious diseaseresearch and some support functions," Montebourg told reporters.

Sanofi was not immediately available for comment.

The company last month scaled back planned layoffs underpressure from the French government, which has been strugglingto contain a burgeoning unemployment rate.

Sanofi said it planned to shed around 900 jobs in France inthe next three years, fewer than the 2,500 predicted in July bytrade unions, as part of a reshuffle of its research operationsinto regional hubs.

Unions refused to accept the scaled-back plan saying thatthe 900 cuts - to be achieved through voluntary redundancies,internal transfers and early retirements - did not take intoaccount the 640 jobs at the Toulouse centre, which Sanofiplanned to exit. {ID:nL6E8L5J76]

(Reporting by Sophie Louet; Writing by Elena Berton; Editing byMark Potter)

((elena.berton@thomsonreuters.com)(+33149495226)(Reuters

Messaging: elena.berton.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: SANOFI JOBS/