Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., a world-leading maker of generic drugs, announced Monday it is expanding its operations in Ireland to counter growing global competition. The Irish government provided a confidential level of aid to secure the â‚¬65 million ($98.6m.) investment in Teva's facilities in Waterford, southeast Ireland. Petah Tikva-based Teva, which has plants worldwide, said it planned to boost its current 650-strong work force in Waterford to 815 within the next five years. The announcement follows a string of job cuts in Waterford, most notably in the city's flagship crystal plant, which is cutting its Irish work force nearly in half. Jacob Winter, Teva's vice president for global generic resources, said the Waterford expansion "will allow us to protect our products' leading market shares, add new capability and broaden our geographical reach and impact." "We face intense competition in the generic drug market from other generic drug manufacturers, brand-name drug companies through authorized generics, manufacturers of branded drugs that continue to produce those drugs after patent expirations, and manufacturers of therapeutically similar drugs," he said. The Waterford facility is operated by Teva's subsidiary IVAX, a previously Miami-based competitor that Teva acquired in January 2006. It includes three production plants and a research and development lab that specializes in combating respiratory ailments. Tom McCabe, general manager of the Waterford operation, said the expansion was "akin to building a new factory" and would allow Teva to "more than double" its current production of medicines in inhalers and tablet form. The facility is already Teva's No. 1 site worldwide for producing products that relieve and prevent asthma. Ireland is a major European hub for drug development and production. Most of the world's biggest drug companies have manufacturing and R&D operations here, and about 25,000 people are employed in pharmaceuticals in the country of 4.2 million.