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Bombardier To Shut Plant in Eastern Germany

Canadian train and aircraft manufacturer Bombardier said Wednesday that it will close a railway car factory in Halle-Ammendorf, eastern Germany by the end of next year. The closure, which will affect 700 employees, is part of a major restructuring of the company's rail division that will cut around 6,600 jobs -- 1,500 of them in Germany -- and shut down seven production plants across Europe. The closing down of the Ammendorf plant will deal a blow to the state of Saxony-Anhalt, which has the highest unemployment rate -- close to 20 percent -- in Germany. In 2002, Bombardier decided against closing Ammendorf when Chancellor Gerhard Schröder personally intervened and held talks with the company. The government stepped in with a large order from a state transport authority. But on Wednesday, the board chairman of its German arm, Peter Witt, said Bombardier has now decided to close the facility by December 2005.