By Oliver Hall
Bridgestone has announced it will close its tyres plants in Australia and New Zealand due to intensifying global cost competition.
The Japanese tyres manufacturer confirmed that the plant closures will affect a total of about 875 employees, Bridgestone said in a statement.
In a statement the company said: “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.”
Bridgestone’s senior executive director Andrew Moffatt said the Adelaide plant would close by the end of April next year while the plant in Christchurch would go by the end of 2009, with the loss of 275 jobs.
‘‘As the last tyre manufacturer in Australia and New Zealand, we have worked hard over many years to avoid today’s decision,’’ Mr Moffatt said.
‘‘However, the unfortunate reality is that Bridgestone Australia can no longer commercially justify the continued operation of these facilities.’’
Bridgestone said its distribution, customer service and retail networks, which employed about 1500 people, would not be affected, along with its other manufacturing operations including golf products and carpet underlay.
The company plans to announce its third quarter results on 5th November 2009.