By Alex Kapadia
Plans are moving forward to sell the French tyres factory which has been at the centre of angry industrial action since Continental announced earlier this year that it was being closed.
The Dubai-based MAG Group has submitted a letter of intent to the German tyres manufacturer and has announced it plans to retain half the current workforce and produce three million tyres a year.
Fawaz Sabri, vice chairman of MAG, confirmed: “We have yesterday sent a letter of intent to Continental. The objective is to regulate the relationship until we reach a final agreement.”
He added: “We intend to get more information and details on the factory to put our business plan together.”
When Continental announced it was closing the Claroix plant due to the global economic downturn, it triggered one of France’s most high-profile industrial disputes.
The workers staged a series of protests to fight the closure, which will eliminate 1,120 jobs. They have hurled eggs and insults at managers, burnt tyres on the streets of Paris and trashed two buildings.
However MAG declared it was the group’s intention to buy the plant, its land and equipment and employ half the current workforce to produce an estimated three millions tyres a year.
MAG has given Continental 14 days to respond.
A Continental spokesman confirmed it had received the letter of intent: “We are still open for negotiations … but there are still a number of open questions.”