Questions have been raised in the European Parliament about the closure of Imperial Tobacco facilities in France.
In a preamble to his questions, French member of the European Parliament Patrick Le Hyaric said Seita had announced that the larger of the last two cigarette manufacturing plants in France was to be closed as part of a restructuring plan.
“The plant, which is located in Carquefou on the outskirts of Nantes, employs 327 people and last year produced 12.2 billion cigarettes, principally under the Gauloises and Gitanes brands,” he said.
“Imperial Tobacco is seeking to make total savings of €385 million between now and 2018, including €72 million this year. The restructuring operations should include the closure of the R&D facility in Bergerac, at which 30 people are employed.”
According to figures provided by Seita, the company employs about 1,150 people at its five facilities outside Paris: two cigarette manufacturing plants at Nantes and Riom; a tobacco processing plant at Le Havre; and two research facilities at Bergerac and Fleury-les-Aubrais.
“Have Seita and Imperial Tobacco been given any funding by the European Union?” the MEP asked. “If so, what sums have been provided and on what basis?
“Does the commission have any reliable information on the profits generated by large tobacco-related companies, such as Seita and Imperial Tobacco, that are looking to close plants in member states?
“Given that there is no indication that Imperial Tobacco Group is in financial difficulties and that the Nantes plant is to be closed because it is loss-making, how does the commission intend to protect workers against job losses that are not based on economic necessity?
“Does the commission intend to keep an eye on redundancy plans that are not based on economic necessity? What can the EU do to counter the trend of closing down operations that are viewed as not generating adequate returns for large private investors, despite still being profitable?”