Michelin Shareholders Support Nigerian Plant Closure
Michelin Group shareholders have expressed their support for the company’s decision to end the production of tyres at its factory in Portharcourt, Nigeria. This decision has been one that has attracted much questioning from manufacturing sector stakeholders, as the reasons behind Michelin’s withdrawal have been shrouded in uncertainty and rumours have abounded that it must in some way be liked to existing security risks for French personnel at the plant. A recent rumour alleges that a French national employed by Michelin was kidnapped and a ransom of an undisclosed amount was required before his release.
In response to such speculations, the company stated that its decision to close the facility were purely in line with its operating strategy for 2007, and Michelin maintain that the closure will only have a minor impact on its Nigerian operation, given that all its other production, marketing, distribution and sales operations will not be affected in any way.
A company statement, signed by its executive director in charge of communication, Victoria Oso Adefala, explained that the endorsement of the decision by Michelin shareholders came during an extraordinary general meeting held in Lagos. According to the statement, the shareholders unanimously approved the permanent cessation of production of Michelin tyres at the Port Harcourt factory. “The shareholders who unanimously approved the closure of the Portharcourt factory has delegated to the company’s board of directors the approval of the severance package to be paid to affected employees,” Adefala said in the statement. She further noted that a meeting of the board of directors is expected to take place on or before 5th March 2007.