UPDATE 1-Bic asks EU to keep duties on Chinese lighters-report

Fri Nov 16, 2012 2:42pm EST

(Adds government statement in final paragraph)

PARIS Nov 16 (Reuters) - Bic, a maker of lighters, pens and razors, could change its mind about investing in France if the European Union does not renew antidumping duties on Chinese lighters, its chairman said.

In an interview with French daily Le Figaro on Friday, Bruno Bich said the company has a plan to invest several tens of million of euros in its lighters business in the next three years.

"A large part would be destined to the Redon site and will be maintained if the duty is renewed," Bich said, referring to a company plant in France's Brittany region. "If not, we will have to reexamine our decision."

Lighters generated around 27 percent of Bic's annual sales in the first nine months of 2012 and are the group's second-largest business after stationery.

The antidumping measures were approved in 1991 and the European Commission is due to decide whether to extend them by Dec. 12.

The French government said in a statement on Friday that it had written to EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht asking him to examine Bic's request "with the upmost attention". (Reporting by Elena Berton and Benjamin Mallet; Editing by Christian Plumb and Kenneth Barry)

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