Wescast to Develop Foundry in China

Manifold producer plans $40-million operation by 2008

Wescast Industries Inc. has signed an “investment agreement” with the Administration Committee of Wuhan Economic and Technological Development Zone. Preliminary to establishing an integrated foundry and machining facility at Wuhan, in China’s Hubei province.

Based in Brantford, ON, Wescast claims to be the world's largest supplier of exhaust manifolds for passenger cars and light trucks. It designs, casts, machines, and assembles cast-iron exhaust manifolds, integrated turbo manifolds, and turbo-charger turbine housings for automotive OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers. It has seven plants and three sales/design centers in Canada, the U.S., and Germany.

Wescast stated that Wuhan offered the best location for its entry to the Asian market. "We believe our strong relationship with the Wuhan EDZ officials, as well as the benefits that this location offers, should provide a very positive environment in which to succeed in China," said Jay McNaughton, Vice President, Strategic Development.

The company said its development in China is budgeted at about $40 million over the next two years, and will be staged, beginning with a machining facility in 2007. The metalcasting operation will begin in 2008. Wescast stated its staged approach will give it time to develop customer relationships and local management and operating resources. It is expected that the initial investment will be approximately $40 million USD over the next two years.

Wescast chairman and CEO Ed Frackowiak stated: "We believe that we will be able to leverage our strategic locations to grow over the long term and meet the needs of our customers in each key automotive market. The establishment of a manufacturing facility in Asia provides direct access to the growing Asian market and complements Wescast's existing manufacturing operations in North America and Europe."

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