Building materials maker USG Corp. (NYSE: USG) today announced a strategic partnership with the Oman’s Zawawi Group to expand the market for its wallboard products into India and the Middle East. The company expects to invest $60 million over the next two years.
USG will acquire 55% of an Omani gypsum quarry along with its partner and expects to have mining operations started by the third quarter of 2013. The company also plans a 50/50 joint venture with Zawawi Group to build a new “low cost” wallboard plant in Oman in an enterprise zone offering easy access to port facilities for shipping finished goods to markets in the Middle East and India. The plant is expected to begin operations in the fourth quarter of 2013.
The company is also “exploring strategic alternatives” for its European operations, including a possible sale of manufacturing and distribution facilities in Europe and Russia.
Shares of USG stock are up about 1.6% at $19.35 after posting a new 52-week high this morning of $19.68. The previous range was $5.75-$19.44.