The Associated Press
October 20, 2008 - 8:00pm

Sweden's Assa Abloy AB, the world's largest lock maker, said Tuesday it would move a production plant from an Israeli settlement in the West Bank after being criticized by human rights groups.

The announcement followed a critical report by the Church of Sweden, aid group Diakonia and SwedWatch, a nonprofit group that monitors the conduct of Swedish businesses. The report said Assa Abloy disrespects international humanitarian law by conducting business in occupied territory.

The plant is located in the West Bank settlement of Barkan and has 100 employees, Assa Abloy said. It's operated by Mul-T-Lock, an Israeli subsidiary that the Swedish lock maker acquired in 2000.

"Assa Abloy can only in this context regret that the inappropriateness has not been noted internally, during the eight years of ownership, of having a production unit on the West Bank," the company said in a statement.

It said an internal investigation had been started to plan the move "in an orderly way."

Stockholm-based Assa Abloy is a world-leading maker of mechanical, electromagnetic and electronic locks.


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