BELFAST, Northern Ireland (Aug. 6, 2004) — Group Michelin is planning a $26.5 million upgrade of its truck and bus tire plant in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, with nearly $5 million in assistance coming from Invest Northern Ireland (INI), a government agency.
The investment will go principally toward the introduction of new technology at the plant, according to INI. This will “substantially increase the capability, productivity and efficiency of what is currently the largest truck and bus tire plant in the United Kingdom,” the agency said.
Neither Michelin nor INI said how much of a capacity increase the project entails or whether it represents new jobs. The plant has a listed capacity of 950,000 tires per year and a work force of 1,200.
“This investment, which could have gone to a number of Michelin plants in Europe, represents a vote of confidence in Northern Ireland by a major global player,” said Barry Gardiner, member of parliament and Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister.
“Michelin Tyre has been a key investor in Northern Ireland for 35 years and has invested substantially in training. The result is a highly skilled work force with the ability to embrace change and innovation,” Mr. Gardiner added.
The government agency's contribution comes out of Selective Financial Assistance.