Fedders and WFI Industries Announce China Strategic Alliance
Dec 30, 2003
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HVAC companies Fedders Corporation and WFI Industries 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.

The products will be manufactured at Fedders Xinle Co., Ltd., in Ningbo, China, which is one of seven Fedders' factories in China. Fedders Xinle has a 1-million-sq-foot heating and air-conditioning plant capable of producing 1 million units per year.

"This is a historic day for our company," said Bruce Ritchey, CEO of WFI Industries. "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."

According to the companies, the new construction market in China is growing rapidly, and energy conservation and environmental protection are primary concerns. Therefore, the government has mandated that all new buildings adopt renewable energy technologies, such as geothermal heating and cooling. Working together, Fedders and WFI believe the geothermal appliance category provides promise for wide-scale use in China.

Robert Laurent, Jr., executive vice president, Acquisitions and Alliances for Fedders, commented: "Fedders is ideally situated with its infrastructure and manufacturing base in China, to partner with WFI Industries, the leader in geothermal technology, and through this alliance, to participate in this rapidly growing market."

According to Mr. Ritchey of WFI Industries, the agreement is "good news for Fort Wayne" because it means there will be an immediate increase in work for engineering, manufacturing, and training support people. "It does not send local manufacturing jobs to China," he said.

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