National Steel Car parent company to build freight rail car facility in Alabama

HAMILTON, ON, July 18 /PRNewswire/ - National Industries Inc., the parent company of National Steel Car Limited (NSC), a leading North American rail car manufacturer since 1912, announced today its newly formed subsidiary, National Alabama Corporation, will build a new manufacturing facility in The Shoals Region of northwest Alabama.

Construction of the manufacturing unit, National Alabama Corporation, is scheduled to begin over the next few months with startup expected in early 2009.  National Steel Car Limited and National Alabama Corporation are wholly owned subsidiaries of National Industries Inc.

Chairman and CEO, Gregory Aziz said, "Together with National Steel Car's Hamilton facility, our new Alabama manufacturing facility will further reinforce our position as one of the largest and most modern manufacturers in the North American railcar industry."

National Steel Car is currently the largest single site manufacturing facility for freight railway cars in North America, and is capable of producing 15,000 new freight railroad cars per year.     The combined operations of National Steel Car and National Alabama will increase National's product offerings to the North American market. National Steel Car has continued to invest heavily in modern technology and new plant over the past decade and the new Alabama operation will continue that focus, employing an engineered "Greenfield" high quality manufacturing process.

With the new facility operational in early 2009, National will have additional multi-product flexibility, as well as enhanced operating capacity, utilizing the strengths of both plants. This new investment will allow National to continue to extend its strong presence with its primary customer base in the U.S.    

Bob R. Riley, Governor of Alabama stated; "Successfully recruiting National Alabama Corporation was a team effort. Any time we bring a new industry to Alabama, it requires a strong partnership between the state, local officials, economic developers and the company. That partnership was out in full force on this project, and on behalf of the people of Alabama, I thank everyone who was involved in this outstanding victory."    

Mr. Aziz emphasized, "We undertook a comprehensive assessment to determine the best possible North American site. As part of this process, our people worked closely with several jurisdictions. I cannot say enough about the support we received during this rigorous process by all participants. Ultimately, we had to make a very difficult decision. We are very pleased to be undertaking this investment in The Muscle Shoals District/Colbert County, Alabama and thank Governor Bob R. Riley, the State and local economic development organizations and all agencies and individuals who worked to make this possible.    

"We look forward to a long and beneficial partnership as a successful business and active community member in The Shoals Region. We are making a very long-term commitment to work with these communities as a responsible employer, to train and develop a large number of new associates, and to actively participate in programs that enhance the quality of life and community in this region."    

Mr. Aziz emphasized that National's team has been working for nearly two years assessing process design, and optimal plant configuration solutions. The new single structure manufacturing facility is designed to provide low cost, flexible operation, with enhanced product throughput, resulting in exceptional quality for our customers.    

While specific cost figures were not released, the investment is estimated to be in the $350 million range. When in full operation, annual capacity is expected to be in the 8,000 to 10,000-unit range providing new employment for 1800 people.    

Governor Riley added, "This is the type of transformational economic development project that northwest Alabama has needed for some time. It means new jobs, more opportunities and a better quality of life for our citizens. We welcome National Alabama Corporation and will do everything we can to make sure the company succeeds, grows and provides good jobs for the people of this area."    

Mr. Aziz stated, "The rail transportation business is challenging but we strongly believe that it has a great future. The railroad industry's needs continue to change and respond to world market trade pattern, competition within the industry and with other transportation modes. As a result, quality, safety, flexibility, environmental integrity, and particularly cost, will continue to be the drivers for the new freight car manufacturers in our industry.    

As National Steel Car has been demonstrating for the past 95 years, National Alabama is committed to providing excellent value to our customers, by designing and manufacturing cutting edge railroad equipment with a cost structure that will keep our customers, competitive in a fast paced, cost conscious transportation world."    

About National Steel Car    
National Steel Car Limited (NSC) was founded in Hamilton, Ontario in 1912 to serve the growing Canadian railway industry. NSC has continued to make substantial investment in new facilities and technology at its Hamilton operations. Today National Steel Car is North America's leading, and one of the largest railway car manufacturers. Its Hamilton Ontario plant is the largest single site facility in North America with an annual capacity of 15,000 cars and a workforce of approximately 2,500 people.