Bridgestone to close Japanese steel cord plant

Within the coming 12 months, Bridgestone Corporation will close its steel cord facility in Kuroiso, Japan and consolidate production into its remaining Japanese steel cord plant, Saga. The company says these measures will commence immediately and it expects to complete them by late September 2014.

Explaining why the decision to close the plant was made, Bridgestone says it previously “implemented a number of initiatives” to increase the Kuroiso site’s competitiveness and overall profitability, however it is now taking the step of closing the facility and consolidating production in Saga “due to intense competition in the steel cord production industry and ongoing competitiveness issues at the plant.”

At the start of the year the 42-year old Kuroiso plant had a 47,000 ton per annum steel cord capacity, 6,200 ton per annum hose wire capacity and 29,000 ton per annum bead wire capacity. Bridgestone has not indicated how much of this capacity will be transferred to the Saga facility’s overall capacity, nor has it indicated if any of the 355 member Kuroiso workforce will be offered employment in Saga. As of January 2013 the Saga plant, which commenced operations in 1982, was capable of producing approximately 90,000 tonnes of steel cord and 700 tons of cable bead wire a year. Bridgestone anticipates a workforce of 539 in Saga by the end of this year.

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