FORT WAYNE, Ind., and LIBERTY CORNER, N.J. - WFI Industries and Fedders Corporation announced that they have entered into a strategic alliance to build water source heat pumps in China. Fedders will produce the units in China for sale by WFI Industries Ltd. in China and Korea under the WaterFurnace brand. WaterFumace is a leading geothermal heat pump manufacturer in North America and Fedders Corporation is a leading global manufacturer of air treatment products.

The heat pumps will be manufactured at Fedders Xinie Co. Ltd. in Ningbo, China, which is one of seven Fedders China factories. Fedders Xinie has a 1 million-square-foot heating and air conditioning plant capable of producing a million units per year. The plant has been ISO 9001 certified and uses state of the art manufacturing processes and equipment.

Bruce Ritchey, CEO of WFI Industries, stated, "This is an historic day for our company. We pride ourselves on being the leader in geothermal technology here in North America, but have not aggressively competed in the global market. This venture will give us the cost structure and critical mass to allow us to design and build products specifically for the emerging geothermal markets in China and Korea. This is good news for Fort Wayne. It means we will see an immediate increase in work for our engineering, manufacturing, and training support people. It does not send local manufacturing jobs to China."

James R. Shields, chairman of WFI Industries, noted, "Fedders is a perfect partner for us. They have extensive manufacturing as well as international headquarters for engineering and manufacturing in China. They have the facilities, contacts, and knowledge to build our type of product. This alliance will allow us to ramp up quickly to meet the growing international market demand. This agreement will not affect production in Fort Wayne, but will allow the company to compete in markets not previously available to it."

Publication date: 01/05/2004