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Bridgestone to shut Japan bicycle plant in turnaround move

Overstretched tire giant suffered first net loss in decades last year

Bridgestone's concept shop Ratio & C in Tokyo's Shibuya district also closed down this month.

TOKYO -- Japanese tire producer Bridgestone will close a domestic bicycle factory under plans announced Monday as part of its larger efforts to climb back into the black.

The Kisai plant in Saitama Prefecture, operated by group company Bridgestone Cycle, will shut its doors for good in June. Its roughly 170 personnel will be reassigned elsewhere.

Production will be taken over by another Saitama plant and a Chinese facility. The Kisai plant churned out roughly 220,000 units last year.

Bridgestone has about 160 plants around the world producing tires and other items. But the company logged its first net loss in 69 years in 2020, hit by price competition in general-purpose tires. With its sprawling network of factories a drag on earnings, Bridgestone will shrink the number of its plants by approximately 40% by 2023 compared with 2019.

The Kisai factory opened in 1971. The group is still considering what to do with the physical facility and land after the closure.

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