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Worthington sees blanks business growing

Keywords: Tags  Worthington Industries, quarterly earnings, TWB, automotive blanks, steel processing, cylinders, Mark Russell, John McConnell Corinna Petry

CHICAGO — Worthington Industries Inc. is looking to continue growing its tailor-welded blanks business, in which it now owns a 55-percent stake.

ThyssenKrupp AG sold an additional 10-percent stake in Monroe, Mich.-based TWB Co. LLC to Worthington at the end of July (, July 31), with Central China’s Wuhan Iron & Steel (Group) Corp. acquiring the remaining 45 percent in August (, Aug. 1).

"This is a strong market niche that can reduce the weight of vehicles," president and chief operating officer Mark A. Russell said during Worthington’s Sept. 26 earnings call. "Automotive demand (for processed steel and blanks) is strong.

TWB, which laser welds sheets of automotive-grade steel together to form blanks that go into various body applications, contributed $1.8 million of equity income during the fiscal 2014 first quarter ended Aug. 31. While that figure was down from a year earlier, it reflected only two months of activity in the most recent quarter because of the ownership changes.

TWB contributed $12.6 million in equity income to Worthington in fiscal 2013 and recorded net income of $27.9 million in fiscal 2013, up 21.7 percent from $23 million in fiscal 2012 and 55 percent higher than the $18 million seen in fiscal 2011.

TWB’s net sales totaled $344.1 million in fiscal 2013, up 9.9 percent from $312.9 million in 2012 and 26.4 percent above $272.2 million in 2011.

Worthington’s overall net income jumped 60.6 percent to almost $54.6 million in the fiscal first quarter. The improvement reflects, in part, higher sales. Revenue increased 3.9 percent to $692.3 million from $666 million a year earlier.

"We had a very good quarter with solid results from our steel processing and pressure cylinders businesses and several of our joint ventures," Worthington chairman and chief executive officer John P. McConnell said during the call.

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