The company said the significant improvement was due to higher sales and gross margins of Western Star Trucks and improved operations at Orion Bus Industries, which was negatively impacted last year by a strike at one of its plants.
"Western Star Trucks had another strong quarter and maintained a build rate of 31 trucks per day at its Kelwona plant,” said chairman, CEO and president Terry Peabody. A new South Carolina plant began production in second quarter and is currently building three trucks a day. In December the company sold its first Class 7 trucks to North America. The trucks are built in Mexico by Dina.
Western Star's earnings for the first half were $27.4 million (U.S.$18.9 million), up 171% from first half 1999. Revenue was $989.5 million (U.S.$684.7 million), up 18.6% from the previous year.