Company’s focus is on Ballymena factory staff, say Michelin

The Ballymena Michelin plant. (Editorial Image).
The Ballymena Michelin plant. (Editorial Image).

Michelin says it is not in any ongoing discussions with any company about its Ballymena site and that its current focus is ‘purely on the wellbeing of the staff’ who work there.

In a statement issued by Michelin regarding recent media reports that Bushmills Whiskey has made enquiries about purchasing the site at Raceview Road, a Michelin spokesperson told The Ballymena Times: “Michelin is currently going through a 90 day consultation period following the previous announcement that our Ballymena factory will be wound down in 2018.

“The focus of the business at this present moment in time is purely on the wellbeing of our staff and exploring all options to help them find new employment when the time comes.

“Michelin is not in any ongoing discussions with Bushmills or any other company.”

The closure of the local Michelin plant, which will result in the loss of 860 jobs, is understood to be part of a restructuring plan that will see investment in Michelin’s facilities in Dundee and Stoke on Trent.

The Ballymena factory produced its first tyre on 3 December 1969.

It produces about one million bus and truck tyres per year, with more than 70% of its total production capacity being exported, chiefly to North America.

Prior to last November’s closure announceement, the company had been warning for a number of years about the threat to the future of the Ballymena plant caused by high energy costs.