PARIS (Reuters) - French drugmaker Sanofi said it could shed around 900 jobs in France by 2015, fewer than the 2,500 layoffs predicted by trade unions, as part of the company's planned reshuffle of its research operations.
The French government had strongly criticized Sanofi's cutback plans amid rising unemployment in France and similar plans by several other companies such as troubled car maker PSA Peugeot Citroen.
Sanofi plans to achieve the cuts through "early retirements, mobility proposals and repositioning in France", it said in a statement on Tuesday.
The group does not plan to move any of its sites or reduce the number of industrial locations it has in France, Sanofi added.
The future of its cancer research centre in the southern French city of Toulouse remains uncertain, however.
Sanofi said it had found potential stakeholders to maintain operations at the site, which employs around 600 people, and that it would strive to find "concrete solutions" in the coming months.
Sanofi's plan, first mooted in early July, attracted the wrath of French politicians, with Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg calling the layoffs "unacceptable" and Toulouse's mayor, Pierre Cohen, labeling the company's top management "gangsters".
Shares in Sanofi were trading flat at 0840 GMT, slightly outperforming the French blue-chip CAC 40 index, which was down 0.3 percent.
(Reporting by Elena Berton; Editing by James Regan)