Jan 5 2011
Reflecting its focus on identifying growth opportunities for housing in China, Worthington Industries, Inc. (NYSE: WOR) announced today the creation of a joint venture to manufacture light gauge steel framing products and to design, engineer and supply light gauge steel-framed mid-rise residential buildings in five Central Chinese provinces.
Worthington joins with Hubei Modern Urban Construction & Development Group Co., Ltd. (HMUCG) of China in the 40/60 joint venture, which will be known as Worthington Modern Steel Framing System Co., Ltd.
The China joint venture is an initiative of the Worthington Global Group, created recently to leverage Worthington’s capabilities in markets with growth opportunities, particularly where governments seek to develop housing for their growing middle class populations. The joint venture will operate in the Chinese provinces of Hubei, Hunan, Henan, Jiangxi and Anhui, which have a combined population of approximately 300 million.
“This joint venture is a great example of our global strategy for our mid-rise system as we introduce steel framing to new markets. We have identified several attractive and developing worldwide markets with strong demographics that have the potential to provide a magnitude of scale,” Worthington Industries Chairman and CEO John McConnell said. “Our global strategy provides an opportunity to enhance the demand for light gauge steel-framed residential structures and allows us to leverage our core competencies in metals manufacturing, and in design and engineered building products.
“We have invested resources in China over the past five years to pursue this market, and those efforts are starting to pay off,” McConnell said. “Our Shanghai design office has been engaged in trial steel-framed mid-rise buildings for several months with the Ministry of Construction as China focuses on national building codes that promote steel framing.”
McConnell also said that the Worthington Global Group has been working on a large-scale project in Mozambique, Africa, underway since September 2010. The project involves the construction of up to 26 residential buildings using Worthington’s steel framing system on the campus of the All-Africa Games, scheduled for September 2011. These buildings will have a total of 900,000 square feet which will require nearly 4,000 tons of steel. The majority of the studs and stairs are being exported from Worthington’s U.S. operations. “This project provides the opportunity for us to show the attributes of our steel framing system in an international setting. Our design and building methods can deliver this type of project in a much shorter time frame than traditional building methods,” said McConnell.
The China joint venture, will also supply curtain wall and interior framing solutions for commercial buildings and operate out of a facility being constructed in the city of Xintao, near Wuhan, in the Hubei province. Xintao is considered one of eight “Ring Cities” and is the site of the Sino-Canada High-Technology Industrial development. This development is a joint effort of the Balloch Group of Canada and HMUCG. It will serve as a catalyst for the demand of steel-framed products. Wuhan, the primary city in the Hubei region, is the target of significant development efforts by the Chinese government under its “Rise of Central China Program,” which includes a focus on developing second-tier cities.