USG To Invest $60M In Oman Gypsum Partnership

CHICAGO (AP) â¿¿ Wallboard maker USG Corp. said Monday that it will invest about $60 million over the next two years as part of a partnership with the Zawawi Group of Oman to capitalize on growing demand for building products in the Middle East and India.

Chicago-based USG said the investment will provide new opportunities in the rapidly expanding Indian wallboard market, and will give commercial construction projects in the region better access to USG wallboard products.

USG expects most of its $60 million to be invested this year.

The company also said Monday that it's exploring "strategic alternatives" for its European operations, including their possible sale. The businesses in question manufacture and distribute ceiling grid systems and finishing compounds throughout Europe and Russia.

The first phase of the Oman partnership calls for the establishment of a mining joint venture through which USG will acquire 55 percent of Zawawi Gypsum, which holds the mining rights to a gypsum quarry in Oman. The joint venture will develop infrastructure and operate the quarry, with mining operations scheduled to start in the third quarter of 2013.

The second phase will be a manufacturing joint venture with Zawawi Minerals to build and operate a new wallboard plant close to the quarry in Oman, with plans to begin wallboard production in the fourth quarter of 2013.

USG shares rose 72 cents, or 3.8 percent, to $19.77 in afternoon trading.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

More from Stocks

What Will GM Do With Cruise -- and Is Its Stock Worth $55?

What Will GM Do With Cruise -- and Is Its Stock Worth $55?

3 Must Reads on the Market From TheStreet's Top Columnists

3 Must Reads on the Market From TheStreet's Top Columnists

This Should Be Your Retirement Savings Plan When the Stock Market Crashes

This Should Be Your Retirement Savings Plan When the Stock Market Crashes

3 Warren Buffett Stock Picks That Could Be Perfect for Your Retirement Portfolio

3 Warren Buffett Stock Picks That Could Be Perfect for Your Retirement Portfolio

Dow Finishes Lower as Nasdaq Posts New Record

Dow Finishes Lower as Nasdaq Posts New Record