ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) -- Japan's biggest tire maker Bridgestone Corp. said Friday it will close its two manufacturing plants in Australia and New Zealand by mid-2010 with the loss of 875 jobs.
Bridgestone's Australia unit said the business -- the only tire manufacturer in Australia and New Zealand -- was no longer internationally competitive.
"We have worked hard over many years to avoid today's decision," senior executive director Andrew Moffatt said in a statement. "However, the unfortunate reality is that Bridgestone Australia can no longer commercially justify the continued operation of these facilities."
The Adelaide plant in South Australia state, which has operated since 1965, will close by the end of next April, with the loss of 600 jobs. The plant in Christchurch, New Zealand, will close by the end of 2009, affecting 275 jobs.
Moffatt said the company would offer support services to workers who lost their jobs, including help to find alternative positions.
Bridgestone said it would maintain its headquarters in Adeleaide, and 1,500 jobs in distribution, customer service and retail networks would not be affected.