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Truck plant wins pounds 160m job boost.

A SOUTH Wales factory today landed a pounds 160m order for heavy military trucks and a 200 jobs boost that could see it develop into a European headquarters with 1,000 on the payroll within a decade.

The 130-job Geesink Norba plant in Llantrisant, currently turning out refuse lorries, will more than double its workforce by 2004 to produce frontline fuel, water and other heavy tankers and transporters for the British armed services. Wales Office minister Don Touhig and Government Defence Procurement Minister Lord Bach were at the site today to officially announce the deal with the plant's American parent company, theOshkosh Truck Corporation, of Wisconsin.

Lord Bach said: ``This is very good news for Wales and I hope it will be very welcome.''

Oshkosh has previously won contracts to provide the British Army with tank transporters and makes all the American military heavy payload vehicles currently en route to the Gulf in preparation for any engagement with Iraq.

Industry speculators forecast the Llantrisant deal could mushroom if successful over its 34 year term with component and other spin-offs.

National Assembly economic development minister Andrew Davies visited the US last year to offer Oshkosh support after the company hinted they were interested in expanding their Llantrisant plant near the Royal Mint to tap into the European heavy truck market. Cardiff University Business School's director of automotive industry research Professor Garel Rhys has said: ``This is excellent news for Wales.

``For years we have been unsuccessful in securing a car manufacturer though we have won major components such as engines - but we have not appreciated the opportunity presented by the heavy vehicle industry.''
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUW
Date:Jan 10, 2003
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