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(Reuters) -Wartsila will shut down its manufacturing in Trieste, in the north-east of Italy, in a move which may involve about 450 job cuts, the Finnish engineering group said on Thursday.
Wartsila said it plans to centralise its 4-stroke engine manufacturing in Vaasa, Finland, while its Trieste site will focus on research and development, among other activities.
"We need to centralise our production assets in Europe in order to further improve our competitiveness," Wartsilia said in a statement.
Italy's Industry Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti said in a statement he was "surprised and very irritated by Wartsila's unjustified and unfair decision", adding he had summoned the company's top management for an explanation.
He added that, in a meeting with Wartsila's top management held two months ago, the Finnish company "denied any divestment, assuring a renewed interest also in light of the tools that ministry had made available."
Wartsila Executive Vice President Atte Palomäki told Reuters that the company is following all local rules and regulations and the negotiation process. "Naturally, we want to have a good dialogue with all of the authorities including the ministries," he added.
(Reporting by Boleslaw Lasocki and Giuseppe Fonte; editing by David Evans, Kirsten Donovan)