Goodyear France says it is unaware of a potential bid from US tyre company, Titan International, that could see 333 out of almost 1,200 jobs saved at its France site of Amiens Nord.

Speculation in France is centering on contact between Titan CEO, Maurice Taylor and Industry Minister, Arnaud Montebourg, with a view to a possible purchase of the Amiens operation that would see a considerably smaller workforce employed.

Any such establishment of relations would represent a remarkable turnaround between both parties, who engaged in a bitter war of words earlier this year concerning the efficiency of French workers following a former bid for the Amiens operation by Titan.

"We were not aware there was an offer - Titan did not get in touch with us," a Goodyear France mangement spokesman told just-auto from France.

"We learned yesterday [from speculation] there were these negotiations and the proposition between the Cabinet of Montebourg and Titan."

Reports in France also indicate there could be a meeting tomorrow (23 October) in Paris where the Industry Minister will meet French unions to discuss the proposal.

Some 57 companies around the world that were potentially thought suitable for a takeover were previously contacted by the French Agency for International Investment (AFII), of which eight declared themselves interested, but Titan's apparent renewed enthusiasm will clearly kindle close union scrutiny.

"Production levels have of course decreased, but the workforce [1,173 staff] is still there," said the Goodyear France management spokesman.

For its part, the French CGT union noted: "We had contact more than 15 days ago with Montebourg's Cabinet, where we discussed the future of the Amiens Nord site, this time the government is officialising the matter: 333 jobs saved."

Neither Titan nor the French Industry Ministry were immediately available for comment.