DECEMBER 11, 2001

Avon in play?

AVON RUBBER, once a Formula 1 tire manufacturer and today the tire supplier for Formula 3000, has announced that it made a loss in 2001 and has decided to close its factory in Trowbridge, England with the loss of 285 jobs. The specialist rubber company is moving production to Eastern Europe where overheads are lower. A further 100 jobs are to go at other Avon facilities in Europe.

Avon is in talks with a potential buyer as the business has been suffering badly since September 11 as the firm's main business is rubber automobile components for customers GM and Ford and they have been cutting back. There have been other problems as the company's dairy equipment division was badly hit by the outbreak of Foot-and-Mouth disease in England.

The racing division has a steady income from Formula 3000 but the company as a whole last more than $10m as it was restructured, although the changes are expected to save the firm up to $5m a year. It now remains to be seen whether the business will bee bought by a bigger player or will be left to struggle on by itself.