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Michelin to close tyre factory in France

Company facing tough competition from cheaper Asian manufacturers

By AFP - Oct 10,2019 - Last updated at Oct 10,2019

CGT union leader Antony Guilloteau speaks on mobile phone during a protest in front of the Michelin factory after the announcement of the closure of the site on Thursday in La Roche sur Yon (AFP photo)

PARIS — Tyre maker Michelin said on Thursday it would close a French-based factory with 619 employees next year as competition from cheaper Asian manufacturers knocks its profit margin. 

Two weeks ago, the French company announced the closure of a factory in Germany with 858 employees by 2021, and last year said it would shutter a plant with 845 employees in Scotland.

Regarding the closure of its plant at La Roche-sur-Yon in western France, Michelin promised a "support plan" for affected employees, and said it would offer everyone a chance to remain in the company in France.

It would also seek out "a major public-private project" in a bid to relaunch the failing site.

Michelin said 74 people who work at a factory in nearby Maine-et-Loiret, manufacturing rubber for the site in La Roche-sur-Yon, will also be affected.

Michelin has been hit hard by the lacklustre performance of the auto industry. 

Its CEO Florent Menegaux said last month that a 70-million-euro ($77-million) investment had been unable to save the site at La Roche-sur-Yon.

He blamed "difficulties in the market for high-end heavy-duty tyres both in Europe and abroad", coupled with "increased competition".

By the end of last year, Michelin employed about 110,000 people in different countries, including 20,000 in France.

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