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GE to build $100-million jet engine plant in Indiana

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[March 27, 2014]  (Reuters)  General Electric Co <GE.N> will start building a $100-million jet-engine plant in Indiana later this year, the company's aviation unit said on Wednesday, expanding production to meet demand for its new engine.

The plant in Lafayette will assemble the LEAP engine, which is a product of CFM International, a longtime joint venture of GE and France's Safran <SAF.PA>.

CFM has orders for more than 6,000 LEAP engines, which are not scheduled to enter service until 2016.

The LEAP will power new versions of widely sold single-aisle planes  the Airbus <AIR.PA> A320neo, Boeing's <BA.N> 737 MAX and China's COMAC C919. CFM competes with United Technologies' <UTX.N> Pratt & Whitney unit for A320neo engine orders.

"Beginning in 2015, the LEAP engine will experience a dramatic production ramp-up for the remainder of the decade," David Joyce, president of GE Aviation, said in a statement.

GE expects to begin hiring for the plant as soon as next year and said the plant would employ more than 200 people within about five years.

(Reporting by Lewis Krauskopf; editing by Bernadette Baum)

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