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Ford set to announce UK van plant closure: source

The shadow of a worker is seen on the logo of Ford Motor Co at the company's assembly plant after an emergency meeting with the plant manage
The shadow of a worker is seen on the logo of Ford Motor Co at the company's assembly plant after an emergency meeting with the plant manage

LONDON (Reuters) - Ford will announce the closure of its van factory in Southampton, southern England, later on Thursday to help it stem European losses, according to a source familiar with the situation.

The move, which could see some 530 British jobs cut, comes a day after Ford said it would shut its 48-year-old Genk plant in Belgium by 2014, with the loss of 4,300 jobs, as part of a wide-ranging restructuring program.

On Wednesday the U.S. car maker summoned British shop stewards to an emergency meeting at its headquarters in Basildon, Essex, around 30 miles east of central London. The meeting will start at 5 a.m. EDT on Thursday morning.

The Swaythling factory on the outskirts of Southampton, which has built over 2 million Ford Transit vans since 1972, could cease production at the end of 2013, said the source, who expects the car maker to move Transit production to Turkey.

Ford employs 11,400 at British sites including Dagenham in Essex and Bridgend in South Wales.

The shutdown of Ford's Southampton plant would be the third European vehicle plant closure this year, after PSA Peugeot Citroën closed a site near Paris and General Motors announced plans to shut its Opel factory in Bochum, Germany.

Ford refused to discuss plans for its UK operations.

(Reporting by Rhys Jones; editing by Kate Holton)

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