UPDATE 2-Zoetis to cut up to 2,500 jobs, shut storage units
* To cut 20-25 pct jobs, R&D spend; shut storage units
* Q1 profit tops estimates on strong sales in Americas
* Shares up 0.6 pct in afternoon trading (Adds CEO comments, analyst comments, details; updates shares)
By Vidya L Nathan
May 5 (Reuters) - Animal health products maker Zoetis Inc said it plans to cut up to a quarter of its workforce and exit nearly 40 percent of its manufacturing plants in its first major restructuring since being spun off from Pfizer Inc two years ago.
The restructuring comes a month after activist investor Pershing Square seated their second nominee on Zoetis's board in exchange for not soliciting any takeover offers for the company.
"After two years of separating from Pfizer ... we have identified significant opportunities for improvement," Zoetis Chief Executive Juan Ramon Alaix said on a call on Tuesday.
Alaix, who was heading the animal health business even at Pfizer, was speaking after Zoetis posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit due to strong sales in the Americas.
Alaix also outlined Zoetis's plans to cut between 20 and 25 percent of its workforce, trim management layers, shut about a third of its storage units that held low-margin drugs and reduce research and development spending. Continuación...