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JOHANNESBURG, May 3 (Reuters) - Swiss engineering group ABB will supply its first batch of traction transformer units for 240 Bombardier electric locomotives, the company said on Wednesday after opening a production plant in South Africa.
The 2,450 square metre plant in Longmeadow, Johannesburg is expected to employ 60 people by the end of 2017, the company said in a statement.
In 2014, South Africa announced a 50 billion rand ($3.74 billion) locomotive supply contract, its largest ever, to four companies, including Canada's Bombardier, in a push to modernise its fleet and support its road-to-rail migration.
"ABB is proud of this new traction transformer facility in South Africa, reiterating our philosophy of locating manufacturing units close to our customers," ABB Chief Executive Ulrich Spiesshofer said.
"It reinforces our next level strategy focus on strengthening our presence in Africa and supports our ongoing commitment to sustainable mobility."
Traction transformers feed power at safe voltages to essential train functions like traction, brakes, lighting, heating and ventilation, as well as passenger information, signalling and communication.
ABB has operations in 23 African countries and employs about 5,000 people across the continent.
$1 = 13.3600 rand Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; editing by Susan Thomas