Michelin to close tire factory in France

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Oct 10 2019 06:20 PM

Bibendum, the Michelin Man mascot, is seen ahead of a news conference to present the Michelin Group company's 2018 annual results in Paris, France, February 11, 2019. Philippe Wojazer, Reuters/File Photo

PARIS - Tire maker Michelin said 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 every one 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 lackluster performance of the auto industry. 

Its CEO Florent Menegaux said last month that a $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 tires 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.