Bushmills Whiskey is interested in buying Michelin’s Ballymena site, which is due to close in 2018, it has emerged.
Michelin told the BBC it had been contacted but pointed out that production will continue in Ballymena for another two-and-a-half years.
A spokesperson for Bushmills Whiskey confirmed that it has explored acquiring the site at Raceview Road which is understood to cover in excess of 100 acres.
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.
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.