Cooper Tires, the American tyre-maker which owns a major Melksham plant, has been sold in a $2.5 billion (£1.6bn) takeover.

Indian firm Apollo Tyres confirmed it has bought Cooper, which owns the former Avon Rubber factory in Bath Road, a move making it the world’s seventh largest tyre manufacturer.

The deal was confirmed on Wednesday last week. An open letter to Melksham employees signed by the chairmen of both companies confirmed that its UK headquarters were not at risk from the takeover, workforces would be kept intact and that current union agreements would remain in place. It said: “Apollo and Cooper are complementary businesses with almost no geographic overlap. We intend to retain existing facilities.

“We also intend to maintain the networks and workforces Cooper already has in place, and to grow the existing facilities to meet the expanding needs of the newly combined company.

“Cooper will continue to recognise the labour unions and honour the terms of the collective bargaining agreements presently in effect and will generally maintain compensation and benefit levels for non-union employees.”

Melksham north ward councillor Pam Wiltshire said: “Obviously it’s a really good thing for the town, because there have been concerns in the past with what might happen.

“It’s one of the longest-serving employers in the town, and has been through a lot of ups and downs over the years which must create a lot of concern among the workforce, but hopefully this means longer-term investment for the town, which we welcome.”