Canadian pharmaceutical company Biovail is planning to close its plant in Citywest in Dublin, where it employs almost 50 people.

A spokesman for the firm said no final decision would be taken until it consulted the employees at the plant. The Irish operation is mainly involved in research and development, and mainly employs scientists and engineers.

Biovail said the move was part of a wider restructuring and was no reflection on the quality of the work at the Dublin plant. A review of the company's business had called for cost cuts as it faced declining sales due to competition.

Biovail has been in Ireland since 1997. Its parent company has been involved in a power struggle between the board and majority shareholder and founder Eugene Melnyk. Mr Melnyk is trying to replace the board at a shareholder meeting next month.