PARIS (Reuters) – The French government presented Bridgestone <5108.T> with a rescue plan on Monday to save one of the Japanese tyre-maker’s plants in northern France, industry minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher said.
Bridgestone, which announced its plans to close the facility one month ago, is willing to examine the proposal, according to Pannier-Runacher.
She said the bailout involved a roughly 100 million euro investment that would safeguard the jobs of more than half of the 863 employees at the Bethune site.
“I had a shareholder who wasn’t interested in reexamining the case. Now it is,” Pannier-Runacher told a press conference, adding she did not exclude the involvement of the French state.
Bridgestone said in mid-September that shutting down the plant was the only response to excess capacity and safeguarding competitiveness.
There was no immediate reaction from Bridgestone on Monday.
Xavier Bertrand, who heads the Hauts-de-France regional authority and is a candidate for the conservative ticket in the 2022 presidential election, said he wanted a quick answer from the company.
“If it’s a no, we’ll enter into a battle to get the most for (the plant’s) employees,” Bertrand told the same news conference. “Because that’s not how you pull out in France.”
(Reporting by Jean-Stephane Brosse; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Benoit Van Overstraeten and Hugh Lawson)