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British Columbia to buy stock in Western Star

The government of British Columbia in May announced plans to invest $60 million in local truck maker Western Star, placing the province among the company's largest shareholders. Officials say BC plans to add an additional $25 million over 10 years. Premier Glen Clark said the amount of stock purchased would not exceed 10 percent of the company.

Western Star will use the money to build an additional industrial park and plant in Kelowna, which will build 40 trucks daily. The current facility, also located in Kelowna, currently produces 29 trucks a day. The additional $25 million would be used to train local workers at the factory. Construction on this complex, expected to begin in 2000. The plant should be operational by the end of 2001.

Western Star recently began construction on a 330,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility in Charleston, SC. The new Kelowna location, like the Charleston location, is Western Star's latest effort to deal with the rising number of trucks on back order (currently more than 6,000).

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