PARIS (Reuters) – Ford (F.N) plans to close its Blanquefort gearbox plant in southwestern France if no buyer can be found for the site, which employs 900 workers, the U.S. carmaker said on Thursday.
Ford management presented a closure plan to unions at the factory to include layoffs and early retirements that may take effect from September 2019, the company said in a statement.
However, a Ford spokesman said the company was in talks with one potential buyer it declined to identify, citing a non-disclosure agreement. Transmissions supplier Punch Powerglide is in discussions with Ford over the plant, according to unconfirmed local press reports.
In a separate statement, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire described Ford’s layoffs plan as premature while a deal to salvage the factory and its jobs remained possible. Le Maire “strongly regrets this decision,” his office said.
Reporting by Laurence Frost; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta
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