Bridgestone to close tyre factory - GulfToday

Bridgestone to close tyre factory


Employees gather outside the Bridgestone plant in Bethune, France, on Thursday. Associated Press

Japan’s Bridgestone announced that it would begin talks to close its tyre factory in France due to low demand and high competition. The factory in Bethune employs 863 people and has a production capacity of about 17,000 tyres a day, Bridgestone said in a statement.

In operation since 1961, Bridgestone plans to start talks about closing the factory due to a drop in demand for low profile tyres, which the Bethune factory mainly produces. The statement did not provide an estimate on the financial impact of the closure.

The French government is looking into options to try to save jobs and prevent the closure of a tyre plant in northern France by its Japanese owner Bridgestone.

“Bridgestone took an appalling decision. The method is appalling and the consequences are appalling and we are going to fight” Bruno Le Maire, French Minister for Economy and Finance, told CNews television.

French government officials said Bridgestone’s move was “brutal” and urged the company to look at alternative options for the factory. “We are going to fight for a production that will be more attractive and review other options,” Le Maire told CNews, adding that the state would also look at ways to “re-industrialise” the plant so that jobs be protected.

Bridgestone spokesman Fusamaro Iijima, in response to Le Maire’s comments on Thursday, said the company would hold negotiations with representatives of local employees.

“We would like to hold talks sincerely and carefully. We aim to do our utmost so that the impact on the local community will be minimised,” Iijima told Reuters.


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