Opel Plant Closure To Cost 1200 Jobs

BRUSSSELS (AP) -- General Motors Co.'s Opel unit says it will close its Antwerp plant in Belgium by the end of the year, costing 1,200 jobs.

The company said it had been unable to find investors to keep the plant going by a September deadline -- but stressed it remains open for new proposals during the wind-down period.

Opel decided earlier this year to withdraw from the Antwerp plant as part of a restructuring but set up a working group with government of Flanders, Belgium's Dutch-speaking northern half, and workers to identify someone else to take over.

"Unfortunately, none of the potential investors was able to come forward with a sustainable business concept for the plant," Opel said in a statement. "Consequently, the process to search an industrial investor interested in continuing operations has come to an end."

The decision "means the end for the workers of Opel Antwerp and its subcontractors," a statement from the ACV union said.

The Antwerp factory, founded in 1924, once employed 7,000 workers. It has produced the Astra three-door, convertible and station wagon versions, almost all of them for delivery outside Belgium.

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