Cardinal Health Layoffs Loom By SHELLY GARCIA Senior Reporter As many as 250 employees could get the axe at Cardinal Health’s local offices here, effectively shutting down the company’s Woodland Hills offices. The layoffs, which began last year, stem from the acquisition of Syncor International Corp., a medical imaging company that had a presence in the Warner Center area for nearly three decades, by Cardinal Health Inc., a Dublin, Ohio-based provider of health care products and services, medical and laboratory supplies drug delivery technology and other products. Pink slips have been handed out in stages since the acquisition, which was completed in January, 2003. But the coming layoffs are likely to affect the largest number of employees yet, impacting 150 workers or more. “At least nine months ago we communicated plans to consolidate some staff functions at our corporate headquarters, and we’ve been doing that,” said Jim Mazzola, a spokesman for Cardinal Health. Mazzola declined to provide further details, saying that the company does not disclose the number of employees at any individual site. But Cardinal Health has just put the former Syncor headquarters offices at 6464 Canoga Ave. in Woodland Hills up for sublease, with three years left on the 60,000-square foot building. The space being marketed has not yet been vacated, according to brokers at CB Richard Ellis, which is marketing the property, but another 36,000 square feet of adjoining office space, at 21300 Victory Boulevard, which was put on the market for sublease late last year, has already been vacated. Both leases have another three years to run, according to Rich Bright, the CB broker marketing the property. In Securities and Exchange Commission documents filed on Dec. 31, 2003, Cardinal Health said that it would terminate about 150 employees as a result of the Syncor acquisition, and 100 of those workers had been let go as of the end of last year. But other records suggest that as many as 250 workers were employed in Woodland Hills prior to the acquisition. Indeed, expansion at what was then Syncor had been so dramatic over the past several years, that by December, 2000 the company was forced to add the adjoining space to accommodate the growth. Syncor’s business had for many years been rooted in the radiopharmaceuticals business, compounds used to diagnose and treat cancer and other diseases, but late in the 1990s the company began an aggressive diversification program into the medical imaging segment. The company also expanded overseas. But the foray into medical imaging ultimately faltered, and just before the acquisition was announced, Syncor had decided to divest its imaging clinics. Cardinal Health, a $40 billion company with some 49,000 employees, in its most recent financial report for the three months ended Dec. 31, said it incurred employee-related costs of $5.5 million resulting from retention bonuses and severance paid as a result of the Syncor acquisition. Those costs for the six months ended Dec. 31, were reported to be $7.1 million in the same documents. Mazzola said that the layoffs were part of a program to achieve greater operating efficiencies. He said Cardinal would continue to maintain a presence in Southern California, and would employ quality and regulatory affairs personnel as well as sales and marketing staff for its nuclear pharmacy division in the area.