Titan CEO ready to invest in French Goodyear site -minister

PARIS Thu Jan 23, 2014 3:22pm EST

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PARIS Jan 23 (Reuters) - French Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg said Texan tyre tycoon Maurice Taylor is ready to invest in a new plant and hire 330 workers on the site of a Goodyear factory at the centre of a labour dispute.

Titan International Chief Executive Taylor said previously that he wanted to buy part of the plant in northern France, which has been earmarked for closure, provided unions agreed on a redundancy payoff deal.

An accord was reached this week after workers who took two executives hostage at the idled factory ended an occupation of the site.

Taylor is ready to invest 40 million euros ($55 million) in a new plant at the site over four years, Montebourg said on Europe 1 radio, citing a message from the Titan CEO.

"It said: 'I am ready to discuss it with everyone ... and offer to hire 330 workers'," Montebourg said, adding that he hoped those workers who had lost their jobs at Goodyear would be rehired at the new site.

Taylor triggered a political storm a year ago when he said the Goodyear plant was not competitive enough to keep running and withdrew a potential rescue bid on the grounds that French workers were lazy.

The factory in Amiens makes agricultural and road tyres and employs 1,200 staff.

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