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Bridgestone Australia closes two tire plants

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Bridgestone Australia Ltd. will close its tire manufacturing facilities in South Australia (Adelaide) and New Zealand (Christchurch).

Bridgestone says that despite “continued efforts to improve cost competitiveness at both plants, international competitive forces have been making tire manufacturing in Australia and New Zealand increasingly difficult, to the point where the operations in both countries are no longer viable.”

The New Zealand plant, which opened in 1947, will close by the end of the year. The Australian facility, which opened in 1965, will close no later than April 30, 2010. Close to 875 employees will lose their jobs as a result of the closures.

According to Bridgestone, affected employees will receive their full entitlements. In addition, the company is working on a range of initiatives to assist them.

"It is our goal to help as many of our employees as possible gain alternative employment, either within the Bridgestone organization or in the wider marketplace," says Andrew Moffatt, senior executive director.

Bridgestone also has announced it will work with local government authorities in Adelaide and Christchurch to gift some land currently owned by the company in recognition of the “enormous” contributions of both communities.

“As the last tire manufacturer in Australia and New Zealand, we have all worked hard over many years to avoid today's decision,” says Moffatt. “However the unfortunate reality is that Bridgestone Australia Ltd. can no longer commercially justify the continued operation of these facilities."

Bridgestone Australia's headquarters will remain in Adelaide.

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