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Firestone to end latex production in Liberia

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HARBEL, Liberia (Aug. 19, 2014) — Firestone Natural Rubber Co., a subsidiary of Bridgestone Corp., will cease producing liquid latex at its Liberian plantation in the fourth quarter of 2014 and concentrate solely on the production of block rubber, the company said.

“This change will allow the company to utilize its entire output for the manufacture of tires and other rubber products,” Firestone Natural Rubber said in a statement issued Aug. 14.

With the discontinuation of latex production, Firestone Natural Rubber also will close its latex terminals in Baltimore, Md., and Savannah, Ga., by the end of the fourth quarter, it said.

The company also said it is working with its latex customers to assure a smooth transition as they seek alternate sources of supply.

Approximately 200 workers, mostly in Liberia, will be affected by the end of latex production at the Firestone plantation, the company said. Because of employee attrition and reassignment, actual layoffs will be minimal, it said.

Firestone officials could not be reached for further comment.

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