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British Equipment-Maker Chooses Savannah For Plant

Europe's largest construction-equipment manufacturer is pushing to increase its presence in the United States with the construction of its first factory outside of England. J. C. Bamford Excavators Ltd. (JCB), based in Staffordshire, England, has selected Savannah, Ga., as the location of a plant that will manufacture construction equipment specifically for the U.S. market. The company -- which had sales of about $1.3 billion last year -- currently builds machines destined for the United States in England, and exports them.

"The United States represents 50% of the world market for our major products," says JCB Group Chief Executive John Patterson. "Several thousand machines with specifications unique to the USA are currently manufactured in the UK and exported. The numbers have now reached a level where it is logical to make them here."

Work on the $62 million project is expected to begin immediately. JCB officials say manufacturing at the 500,000-square-foot facility will begin in late 1999 with up to 100 workers employed in the initial phase. Around 500 workers eventually could be employed at this facility, which initially will make backhoe loaders.

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