March 13, 2020 / 6:16 PM / 16 days ago

Brakes maker Brembo to suspend Italian operations next week for virus protection work

MILAN (Reuters) - Premium brakes maker Brembo (BRBI.MI) said on Friday it would temporarily close its four Italian plants next week, a further sign that the coronavirus outbreak threatens to disrupt Europe’s struggling automotive industry.

Brembo supplies premium brands such as Ferrari (RACE.MI), Tesla (TSLA.O), BMW (BMWG.DE) and Mercedes (DAIGn.DE), as well as several Formula 1 teams.

Brembo’s plants are all located in the provinces of Bergamo and Brescia in the northern Lombardy region, which is the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in Italy.

The plants will be closed from Monday to Sunday next week to intensify measures to safeguard workers’ health and safety, given “the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent objective inability to operate with continuity,” the company said in a statement.

The Italian government has taken extraordinary measures to try and contain the virus outbreak in the country, the worst in Europe, including restrictions on travel and closing restaurants and most shops.

Manufacturing plants have not been ordered to close, but employers are required to sanitize areas, supply workers with safety devices, including masks, and provide more space between workers.

Earlier this week car maker Fiat Chrysler (FCHA.MI) and industrial vehicle maker CNH Industrial (CNHI.MI) said they were temporarily halting operations and slowing production rates at some of their Italian plants to comply with the government’s requirements.

Tyremaker Pirelli (PIRC.MI) said on Tuesday it was cutting production at its Settimo Torinese plant in northern Italy after a worker tested positive for the coronavirus.

Reporting by Giulio Piovaccari; editing by Agnieszka Flak and Susan Fenton

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