Robert Bosch is negotiating with French unions over plans to axe 435 jobs at two plants in France, reducing its total workforce in the country to 9,000.

The supplier's plants in the country had been on short-time working for most of the year and although they are now back on full-time working, the plants are running at only 85% capacity, Bosch France's president, Guy Maugis, said.

German media reports, dismissed by the company as 'market speculation', suggest that Bosch will post a loss for 2009, its first in more than 60 years as revenue from the auto industry tumbles by 25%. That loss could be as high as EUR3bn year according to Handelsblatt. Last year the company reported a net profit of EUR372m, down 87% from its results in 2007.

Bosch will axe a total of 10,000 jobs worldwide and will close some plants. In France, two sites will be affected. These will be the one in Beauvais, in the north, where alternative solutions have been found for some 240 workers, and the one in Pont-de-l'Arche, in Normandy, which employs 70.

Bosch's Mondeville, Normandy, plant may offer early retirement to some 200 workers. The site in Venissieux, central France, is also in danger.