Northern Ireland

Bushmills Whiskey considers buying Michelin Ballymena site

Michelin Ballymena Image copyright PA
Image caption Michelin's Ballymena factory is due to close in 2018

Bushmills Whiskey has made an approach about buying the Michelin site in Ballymena, which is due to close in 2018.

The owners of the world famous drinks brand recently submitted a planning application for a £30m expansion at its existing north Antrim premises.

However, a spokesperson confirmed it has explored acquiring the site of the tyre factory.

No other details were provided.

Michelin told the BBC it had been contacted, but pointed out production will continue in Ballymena for another two-and-a-half years.

The factory is to close in 2018 with the loss of 860 jobs.

The decision was part of restructuring which will increase production in Dundee and modernise another facility at Stoke-on-Trent.

The company said the decision had been made due to the "significant downturn" in demand for truck tyres in Europe since the financial crisis of 2007.

North Antrim MLA Jim Allister said he would watch developments with interest.

Mr Allister, Traditional Unionist Voice leader, said any expansion by Bushmills involving additional posts would be welcome.

But he cautioned against the displacement of jobs from one part of the constituency to another.

Jose Cuervo bought Bushmills Whiskey from Diageo in 2014.

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