BALLYMENA, Ireland—Michelin has ceased production at its 49-year-old truck tire plant in Ballymena, two months ahead of the factory's scheduled closing.
Michelin announced the closure of the Ballymena factory in November 2015 with the loss of 860 jobs. The decision was linked to rising energy costs and falling demand for truck tires in Europe.
The plant, in years past, exported a large percentage of its tires to the U.S.
The factory, which opened in 1969, is to be turned into an enterprise park comprising manufacturing, office and warehouse space, according to local media reports confirmed by Michelin.
As of March, Michelin said that 449 of the Ballymena employees already had found new employment, been relocated to other Michelin sites or have retired.
The tire maker will reorganize activities in the United Kingdom and in Italy, which in addition to site closures, will include an investment of $410 million to modernize production and the logistics network in these countries.
The closing of the Ballymena plant is part of a wider restructuring of Michelin's operations in the U.K. on growth segments of the passenger car and light truck tire and retread markets, the company said.
The restructuring plan includes an investment of more than $100 million at a plant in Dundee, Scotland to increase passenger and light truck tire capacity by 30 percent by 2020 and $25 million in its Stoke-on-Trent, England, tire and retread plant.