Michelin sells Ballymena site to business park developer

French tyre firm confirms plant will close next month, ahead of schedule

 

Michelin, the French tyre manufacture that next month will close its Northern Ireland factory which previously employed nearly 900 people, has sold its 68- acre site in Ballymena to a company in the North that develops business parks.

The French group confirmed on Monday, that after almost half a century of manufacturing tyres in Ballymena, production will cease next month and it has sold its Northern Ireland facility to Silverwood Business Park Limited for an undisclosed figure.

Silverwood, which owns and manages Silverwood Business Park in Craigavon where 1,000 people are employed by various firms, intends to develop a “high-end enterprise park” with manufacturing, office and warehouse space on the Ballymena site.

Decommissioning

Michelin, which announced its Northern Ireland factory closure nearly three years ago - at the time blaming a significant downturn in truck tyre sales, had originally intended to keep the plant operational until June.

However it now plans to decommission the site earlier than expected before formally handing over ownership of the site to the Silverwood Business Park company at the end of September.

The French group has said it will continue to pay all of its remaining employees in the North until the end of June.

Since it announced the closure of its Northern Ireland operation Michelin said it has been “extremely successful in finding around 700 employees rewarding alternatives to life at Michelin in Ballymena”.

Moving staff

It has previously outlined that 260 former staff have found new jobs, 65 have retired, a further 43 transferred to other factories, including 14 to the company’s Stoke-on-Trent site and 12 to Michelin in Dundee while another 17 workers relocated to Michelin’s Canadian, French, German, Spanish and US factories.

Meanwhile, Michelin has also announced that it intends to “gift” 10 acres of its Ballymena site to Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.

The council has welcomed the move and said it wants to develop a new centre for manufacturing excellence on the former Michelin site and use it to boost its bid to bring a Heathrow Logistics Hub to the area.