Worthington Industries, Inc. (NYSE:WOR) signed an agreement with International Tooling Solutions, LLC (ITS) to combine its automotive body panels subsidiary, The Gerstenslager Company, with ITS, a tooling design and build company, in a newly formed 50/50 joint venture. The joint venture, ArtiFlex Manufacturing, LLC, will offer an integrated solution for engineering, tooling, stamping and assembly.

ITS designs, engineers, builds, and services metal stamping dies. It also provides metal stampings primarily for the automotive, military, lawn & garden and heavy truck & bus markets. The company specializes in low-cost production of Ultra Low Volume Dies and Assembly (ULVD/A). ITS was founded in 2003 when the company acquired the assets of Maghielse Tool Corp. In 2007, the company began offering tooling designed in Grand Rapids Mich. and manufactured through a closely integrated supplier network in South Korea and China. ITS operates from three facilities, two in Grand Rapids, Mich., and one in Frankfort, Ky. with 120 employees.

Worthington Industries is a leading diversified metals manufacturing company with 2010 fiscal year sales of approximately $1.9 billion. The Columbus, Ohio-based company is North America’s premier value-added steel processor and a leader in manufactured pressure cylinders, such as propane, oxygen and helium tanks, hand torches, refrigerant and industrial cylinders, camping cylinders, and scuba tanks; framing systems and stairs for mid-rise buildings; current and past model automotive service stampings; steel pallets and racks; and through joint ventures, suspension grid systems for concealed and lay-in panel ceilings, laser welded blanks, compressed natural gas storage cylinders, and light gauge steel framing for commercial and residential construction. Worthington employs approximately 7,000 people and operates 74 facilities in 11 countries.

Founded over 150 years ago as a carriage manufacturer, The Gerstenslager Company, a Worthington Industries Company, today is a major supplier of current and past model automotive service stampings and assemblies. Gerstenslager specializes in blanking, stamping, assembly, e-coat, packaging, warehousing and distribution. The company employs 630 in its state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities located in Wooster and Clyde, Ohio.

ArtiFlex Manufacturing will operate five manufacturing facilities in Frankfort, Ky.; Grand Rapids, Mich. (two locations); and Clyde and Wooster, Ohio. Current ITS Owner and President Erin Hoffmann will lead the new joint venture.

BlueWater Partners (now Cascade Partners) served as the exclusive financial advisor to International Tooling Solutions.

Update: BlueWater Partners has joined Cascade Partners. Read more here.