French ministers to visit Bridgestone plant under threat

Credit: REUTERS/PASCAL ROSSIGNOL

The French government is sending two ministers to a tyre plant in northern France next Monday as it reiterated calls on Japanese owners Bridgestone to consider alternatives to closing the site.

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PARIS, Sept 18 (Reuters) - The French government is sending two ministers to a tyre plant in northern France next Monday as it reiterated calls on Japanese owners Bridgestone 5108.T to consider alternatives to closing the site.

"I can confirm that I will go on Monday with junior Economy Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher to Bethune to meet with local officials and staff representatives," Borne told Sud Radio on Friday.

"We want Bridgestone to review all scenarios. It is its responsibility to look at all alternatives."

Separately, government spokesman Gabriel Attal told Europe 1 radio that Bridgestone representatives would be present during the visit.

"We will do all we can to find a future for the plant," he said.

Bridgestone said on Wednesday that it would begin talks to close the factory in Bethune, which opened in 1961 and employs 863 people, in the face of weak demand for low-profile tyres, its main product.

(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; editing by Jason Neely)

((dominique.vidalon@thomsonreuters.com; +33149495432; Reuters Messaging: dominique.vidalon.reuters.com@reuters.net))

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