Tire maker Pirelli abandons Venezuela, adding to business exodus

The logo of Pirelli is seen at a tire workshop in Caracas, Venezuela August 27, 2018. REUTERS/Marco Bello

CARACAS (Reuters) - Manufacturer Pirelli PIRI.UL said on Friday it had ceased operations in Venezuela, selling its car tire factory for an unspecified amount and adding to the flood of foreign businesses abandoning the crisis-wracked country.

Pirelli, owned by Chinese state-owned firm ChemChina CNNCC.UL, said the sale to a consortium of South American entrepreneurs and the firm Sommers International would have no financial impact.

Pirelli’s plant in the city of Valencia has been closed since early last week, when about 100 of its 700 employees protested outside after finding the gates locked.

In a statement on Friday, Milan-based Pirelli said the disposal agreement called for “employment continuity.”

“Pirelli wishes to thank its collaborators and clients for its 28 years of activity in the country and wishes the new management every success,” the statement said.

Multinational companies including cleaning products firm Clorox Co CLX.N and cereal maker Kellogg Co K.N have been steadily leaving the country amid shrinking demand caused by a fifth year of recession and hyperinflation.

President Nicolas Maduro has said Venezuela is victim of an “economic war” led by political adversaries with the help of Washington.

Pirelli, which supplies tires for Formula One, was acquired in 2015 by China National Chemical Corp, known as ChemChina.

Reporting by Corina Pons; Writing by Angus Berwick; Editing by David Gregorio