AKRON (June 30) — Goodyear said it wants to close a tire plant in New Zealand as part of its cost-cutting efforts.
The facility in Upper Hutt, New Zealand, employs 400 and has the capacity to produce 2 million radial passenger tires annually, the company said. The South Pacific Tyres factory opened in 1949.
Calling the action a "proposal," Goodyear said it is meeting with employees and union officials as part of its strategy to reduce high-cost manufacturing capacity globally.
The tire maker said the closure is expected to be completed within six to eight months and create annual cost savings of about $15 million in Goodyear's Asia Pacific region. The move would result in restructuring charges of approximately $35 million, of which approximately $20 million is expected to be cash charges.
Goodyear Chairman Robert J. Keegan said eliminating high-cost manufacturing capacity is a key component of the firm´s strategy. The company said high costs, competition from low-cost imports and the lack of domestic auto production has put greater pressure on manufacturing in New Zealand.
Goodyear facilities in other Asia Pacific nations would supply New Zealand, the firm said.
The shutdown would leave one tire plant in New Zealand, a Bridgestone Corp. factory in Christchurch.