September 21, 2018 / 10:41 AM / a year ago

French minister optimistic over buyer for Ford Blanquefort plant

FILE PHOTO: A Ford logo is pictured at a store of the automaker, in Mexico City, Mexico, April 5, 2016. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido/File Photo

BORDEAUX, France (Reuters) - French Economy minister Bruno Le Maire said on Friday that talks with Belgian transmissions supplier Punch Powerglide over the purchase of Ford’s (F.N) Blanquefort gearbox plant in southwestern France should be concluded next month.

In June, the U.S. carmaker had said it would close the plant if no buyer could be found for the site, which employs 900 workers.

“I hope we can reach a deal before end-October,” Le Maire said after meeting with staff representatives in Bordeaux.

Punch Powerglide was a “credible, solid buyer” but had yet to detail its plans and production forecasts for Blanquefort, Le Maire said.

Reporting by Claude Canellas, Writing by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Laurence Frost

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