Bridgestone tyres lost millions of dollars in the past two years of manufacturing in New Zealand, despite revenues rising to $217 million last year.
The Japanese tyres manufacturer announced the closure of their plant in Christchurch by Christmas, sacking 275 people in a move that has devastated workers, their union says.
Companies Office files show Bridgestone, a tyre maker, retailer and wholesaler, lost $7.1 million in the 2008 calendar year in New Zealand.
The Bridgestone NZ loss in the previous year was $3.8m. The firm made a $1.2m profit in 2006.
In announcing the closure of the Christchurch plant and one in Adelaide, Australia, Bridgestone’s owners in Japan blamed intensifying cost competition globally. In Adelaide, 600 jobs will go.
Bridgestone is Japan’s biggest maker of tyres and in the half year to June made a loss of 38.3 billion, hit by the economic downturn in Japan, the United States and Europe.
“Despite continued efforts to improve cost competitiveness at both plants, international competitive forces have been making tyre manufacturing in Australia and New Zealand increasingly difficult to the point where the operations in both countries are no longer viable,” the company said.
Alex Kapadia, Operations Team