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General Motors SUV's are displayed in an autosales lot in Troy, Michigan

REBECCA COOK/REUTERS

Stock in Westport Innovations Inc. got a boost Wednesday after the Vancouver-based company announced a new technology development deal with General Motors Co.

Westport stock was up $2.99, or almost nine per cent, at $36.32 in late morning trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The agreement with General Motors will focus on advanced natural gas engine technologies in light-duty vehicles, Westport said.

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Light-duty vehicles include trucks, vans and SUVs.

"The expansion of our advanced natural gas technology collaboration with GM provides the potential for greater fuel efficiency and reduced greenhouse gas emissions for the industry and the consumer," said Ian Scott, president of Westport's light-duty division.

"Our continued growth in light-duty is an important part of Westport's overall commitment to innovative natural gas transportation solutions," Mr. Scott said in a news release.

Westport recently announced that it has teamed with global giant Caterpillar Inc. to co-develop natural gas technology to fuel off-road heavy equipment that typically uses diesel.

Caterpillar will fund the development program and Westport, a Vancouver-based specialist in engine technology, expects to supply key components for products developed under the initiative.

In its most recent quarter, Westport Innovations Inc. said it lost $22.6-million(U.S.) or 22 cents per share in the three-months ended March 31, compared with a loss of $14.4-million or 31 cents per share a year ago. Revenues totalled $88.6-million for the quarter, up from $38.1-million.

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