The French government presented Bridgestone 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.

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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.”

Reuters | PARIS


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