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Allister meets Michelin management

21 April 2012

Local TUV MLA Jim Allister has welcomed the opportunity last Friday (20th) to spend some hours with the senior UK management of Michelin to discuss issues relevant to the future of their Ballymena plant.


Commenting Jim Allister said:-


"Of course these are tough times for business across the world and Michelin is not immune from that. Hence it recently operating below capacity, though the expectation is that production should pick up as the year progresses. The commitment and effort of senior management, along with the loyalty and hard work of the labour force, is seeing Michelin through these more difficult times.


"However, one issue on which Michelin in Northern Ireland is facing extra pressure is our higher and extortionate energy prices. Michelin demonstrated in its meeting with MLAs that in contrast to its GB plants, energy costs for its Ballymena operation are up to 50% higher. This is intolerable and is contributed to by the wrong-headed energy policy being pursued by the Stormont Executive. The facts are indisputable: since the Executive committed us to the all-island Single Electricity Market our prices have diverged from the lower GB prices to align more with the higher ROI prices. Why, because in large measure we are subsidising the Republic's highly inefficiently and costly generation and transmission systems.


"Competitive energy prices are imperative for a high consumption operator like Michelin. Thus, every penny in difference in the unit price of electricity makes a huge difference. These higher electricity prices are placing Michelin at Ballymena at a disadvantage in its internal competition with other Michelin plants and external competition with other tyre producing companies.


"I commend Michelin, which has been a lynchpin of the local economy for 42 years, for its commitment to North Antrim and look forward to it continuing to provide vital and worthwhile employment, but DETI and the Utility Regulator must help by facing up to the present regime of unbearable energy prices."

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