Michelin has tonight confirmed plans to close its tyre factory in Dundee “by mid-2020”.
The news, first revealed by The Courier, is a hammer blow for the city, as the company has long been one of the city’s largest private sector employers.
A statement released on the Michelin website on Monday, quickly removed and then reinstated, claims the plant on Baldovie Road is “unsuitable and its conversion is not financially viable”.
It adds Michelin “has had to announce its intention to employees to close the Dundee factory by mid 2020”.
The statement reads: “The Dundee site, opened in 1971 and which exclusively manufactures 16-inch and smaller Michelin tyres for cars, has faced serious difficulties in recent years due to a profound transformation of the car parc, resulting in a structural decline in the demand for premium tyres of 16-inches and smaller
(and) an accelerated shift in the 16-inch and smaller tyre offer towards low-cost, entry-level products from Asia
“Despite the group’s continuous efforts, and the factory employees’ dedication to making the site economically sustainable through the implementation of several action plans – €70 million has been invested in recent years to modernise the site – the accelerated market transformation has made the plant unsuitable and its conversion is not financially viable.
“Against this backdrop, the Michelin Group has had to announce its intention to close the Dundee factory by mid-2020.
“The priority now is to provide the 845 employees of the factory with the most effective support possible to enable them to face the consequences of this difficult decision.
“In line with its principles, the Group will implement a personalised support programme for each of the factory’s employees.
“In addition to enhanced redundancy packages and early retirement measures for employees at the end of their career, Michelin will propose a comprehensive plan to assist the employees concerned to start a new career as quickly as possible.
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“This plan will include intensive support to find a new job, relocation assistance, and tailor-made programmes including skills retraining.
“Michelin Development, the group’s entity dedicated to local economic development in the areas in which Michelin has operations, will also be working with local stakeholders to help create 845 new jobs.
“In accordance with UK legislation, Michelin will begin a consultation process with employees, employee representatives and the trade union on the closure project, and on social support measures in the next two weeks.
“Michelin’s truck tyre retreading business, as well as sales and distribution of all its products and services in the UK will continue.
“The Group is also investing in high-tech and digital activities, as illustrated by the Group’s recent acquisitions, including blackcircles.com and Fenner.”
A source earlier told The Courier: “Both governments have been alerted. There are 850 workers at the Dundee factory and the plan is to close it in or by 2020.”