National Gypsum Co. has entered a joint venture with Panel Rey S.A. to produce PermaBase cement board in Mexico. The new joint venture company will be PermaBase de Americas.

PermaBase will open its first plant in Monterrey, Mexico, during the fourth quarter of 2008. The product, used as exterior sheathing and as an underlayment for tile, will be sold in Central and South America as well as Mexico. For seven years, Panel Rey has sold PermaBase to more than 300 distributors throughout Mexico and Latin America under an agreement with National Gypsum.

"Sales have grown consistently, and we are ready to take our partnership with Panel Rey to the next level," said Craig Robertson, general manager for National Gypsum’s PermaBase business. "The new plant in Mexico will allow us to streamline the supply chain by reducing freight and eliminating customs fees and duties."

PermaBase features patented EdgeTech, which creates rounded edges on the boards to prevent cracking and crumbling during installation. These edges also protect the board during transit and handling at the jobsite.

The joint venture also will produce PermaBase Flex, the only product of its kind in the industry. It is a 1/2-inch lightweight cement board that bends without time-consuming water saturation or scoring. It was designed for ease in handling, and installation, which results in reduced skilled labor costs.

National Gypsum has PermaBase plants located in Bromont, Quebec; Jacksonville, Fla.; Clinton, Ind.; and Dallas.

Panel Rey, headquartered in Monterrey, produces and distributes gypsum wallboard, metal studs, and joint treatment products to the Mexican and Central and South American markets.