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Dunlop Motorsport to exit U.K. factory

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ERDINGTON, England (Feb. 3, 2014) — Dunlop Motorsport Europe is planning to transfer production of competition car and motorcycle tires to Goodyear Dunlop plants in France and Germany from its Fort Dunlop factory in Erdington, where the firm's lease on the 99-year-old facility is due to expire Sept. 1.

Dunlop Motorsport said it proposes moving race tire production to plants in Montluçon, France, and Hanau, Germany, which have the necessary infrastructure and capacity. Montluçon has capacity for road and racing motorcycle tires and Hanau produces ultra-high-performance tires and is the base of the main Dunlop European Technical center.

It did not specify what it expects the transfer process to cost.

Goodyear Dunlop U.K. Ltd. disclosed in May 2013 it had lost the lease on the Fort Dunlop property and had begun to develop a "contingency plan to ensure continued supply of our motorsport tires to our key customers," according to Jean-Felix Bazelin, general manager, Dunlop Motorsport Europe,

Sanjay Khanna, managing director for the Dunlop brand in Europe, said, "Our strong preference was to remain on our existing site, but this has not proved possible.

"For several months, we have also worked closely with local agencies and authorities to identify local Birmingham site alternatives. Unfortunately no other appropriate site was available locally which would have provided continuity of supply to our key customers."

The company has begun informing and consulting with affected employees and union representatives of the Erdington site, where 241 jobs potentially will be affected.

"We understand that this is a difficult time for our employees," Mr. Khanna continued. "It is important our attention is now focused on supporting the employees who will be affected. We will work with our unions and employees throughout the consultation process to provide support."

The proposal remains subject to consultation with trade union representatives and has been shared with the company's European central works council.

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