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UPDATE 1-France says Japanese tyremaker Bridgestone to shut Bethune plant

(Adds comments from junior economy minister and background)

PARIS, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Japanese tyremaker Bridgestone has decided to “close the door” on its Bethune plant in northern France, Junior Economy Minister Agnes said on Thursday.

Bridgestone said in September it wanted to close the factory in the face of low demand for its main product, low-profile tyres.

The government will, however, fight to ensure it remains an industrial site and will work on possible new offers for the site, Pannier-Runacher said after meeting Bridgestone and plant representatives in Bethune.

“Bridgestone leaves the Bethune site. We’ll be there alongside the employees to find the best possible solutions”, Pannier-Runacher told reporters, adding that the tyremaker did not want to invest in the plant due to overcapacity.

With 863 employees, the factory has a daily production capacity of about 17,000 tyres. (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon and Gwenaelle Barzic; Writing by Matthieu Protard; Editing by David Evans and Alexander Smith)

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