December 5--Noble International Ltd. has signed a long-term joint venture agreement with a wholly owned subsidiary of Wuhan Iron and Steel Company (WISCO) to enter the Chinese automotive market for laser welded blanks. The 50%/50% joint venture will operate under the name WISCO Noble Laser Welding Technology Co. Ltd. The joint venture is expected to receive final approval from the Chinese government in the first quarter of 2007.
WISCO/Noble is expected to begin laser welded blank production during the second half of 2007. The joint venture partners have already held several discussions with Chinese automakers regarding laser welded blank production.
Under the terms of the joint venture agreement, Noble and WISCO will each invest up to $1.25 million in cash. Additional investments will be dictated by commercial requirements. The joint venture expects to obtain funding from financial institutions in China as needed. Noble will contribute operating management to the joint venture and provide training. WISCO/Noble intends to enter into steel supply and technology agreements with WISCO and Noble, respectively.
For more information, visit www.nobleintl.com.