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USG partners with Oman?s Zawawi Group

USG Corporation has entered into a strategic partnership with the Zawawi Group of Oman to set up a gypsum manufacturing plant and expand in the fast growing building product markets in the Middle East and India

The company said it would invest US$60 million over the next two years in the new partnership that will see the creation of two joint ventures that will focus on gypsum mining and the manufacturing of gypsum board in Oman.

USG president and chief executive officer James Metcalf said, ?The market in India and more broadly in the Middle East represents an attractive growth opportunity. We are thrilled to partner with a prominent organisation such as the Zawawi Group, whose business acumen and market knowledge will contribute to the success of the venture.?

In the first phase of the partnership, USG will acquire 55 per cent interest in Zawawi Gypsum, through a joint venture with Zawawi Group.

Zawawi Gypsum holds the mining rights to a gypsum quarry in Salalah, Oman. Salalah has shipping access to many ports in India and the deal would ensure steady supply of gypsum for USG's wallboard plants and cement plants to be set up in India.

The startup of the quarry mining operations is scheduled to begin in Q3 2013.

In the next phase, USG would construct and operate a new wallboard plant in the Salalah Free Zone, Oman, through a 50/50 manufacturing joint venture with Zawawi Minerals. The plant is expected to operate from the Q4 2013.

The manufacturing plant will initially have a capacity to produce eight million square metres of gypsum board and 200,000 MT of Plaster of Paris per annum in the first phase. In the second phase the gypsum board capacity may be scaled up to 16 million square metres per year.

USG executive vice president operations Chris Griffin added,??USG?s state-of-the-art technology combined with Zawawi?s local strength and resources should contribute to increased sales and profitable growth for both organisations.?