ROME (Sept. 30, 2013) — Bridgestone Europe N.V./S.A. has agreed to keep open its Bridgestone Italia S.p.A. car tire plant in Bari, Italy, signing a conversion plan today in Rome with Italian government and labor union officials.
Bridgestone said the conversion plan will involve focusing the 51-year-old plant in Bari on tires for general use while also increasing its competitiveness.
The tire maker did not go into specifics on the plan's impact on the plant's production capacity or employment, saying: "This agreement indicates the possibility to maintain important industrial activities in Bari, under conditions to achieve the targeted levels of productivity and cost through the implementation of the commitments made by the above mentioned parties.
The factory currently turns out 21,500 car tires a day with 1,000 employees.
The agreement reverses Bridgestone's decision from March to close the plant. At that time, Bridgestone said the plant suffered because the tires made there, predominantly low-range car tires, had to compete increasingly with low-cost imports. The plant also suffers from higher logistics and energy costs, Bridgestone said.
The parties signed the agreement under the supervision of the Italian Ministry of the Economic Development, Bridgestone said.
By signing this agreement, Bridgestone said it "will make its utmost effort to succeed in converting the plant, maintaining its industrial activities."