CNH Industrial restarts production at four Italian plants

MILAN, April 28 (Reuters) - Vehicle and equipment maker CNH Industrial on Tuesday resumed operations at four plants in Italy, a spokesman said, as the country moves towards lifting a nationwide lockdown aimed at curtailing the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Rome has said it will allow factories and building sites to reopen from May 4 as it prepares a staged end to Europe’s longest coronavirus lockdown.

However, some businesses deemed “strategic”, including export-oriented ones, were allowed to reopen sooner to reduce the risk of being cut out of the production chain and losing business, providing they get the go-ahead from local authorities and safety rules for workers are in place.

CNH has resumed operations at its plants in Modena, which produces agricultural machines; Foggia, which makes engines; and at two facilities in Turin, which produce engines and parts for engines, the spokesman said.

He said the group had sought a green light from local prefects. Current rules in Italy allow applying businesses to rely on tacit consent by local authorities.

Production resumed at reduced rates.

“The plants are running at 20%-30% of their capacity, with a few hundreds of workers back to work, out of around 4,500 normally,” the spokesman said.

CNH, which makes farm machinery, Iveco commercial vehicles, construction equipment and powertrains, earlier this month agreed with unions on health and security measures to put in place in its Italian facilities to prepare for reopening. (Reporting by Giulio Piovaccari; Editing by Mark Potter)