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Tuesday May 26th, 2015 3:51AM

Caterpillar opens manufacturing plant near Athens

By The Associated Press
BOGART, Ga. (AP) Caterpillar's top executives are celebrating the grand opening of a manufacturing plant near Athens and promised a bright future despite disappointing company earnings recently.

So far, about 300 out of a promised 1,400 workers have been hired at the plant, according to The Atlanta-Journal Constitution. But CEO Doug Oberhelman told the newspaper Thursday that he expects the facility to be fully staffed by 2015. He projected about 2,800 additional jobs from nearby suppliers.

The plant straddles the line that separates Athens-Clarke County and Oconee County. Workers will manufacture small-track bulldozers and small hydraulic excavators.

Caterpillar received a package of state and local incentives worth about $75 million for the plant. The Illinois-based firm already has facilities in Griffin, LaGrange and Thomasville.
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