MINNEAPOLIS - The Valspar Corp. and QUIKRETE, a major producer of concrete products, announced a strategic alliance to manufacture and market a line of premium concrete coatings that the companies said would make a market debut in early 2005.

The products, billed as the first line of concrete-coatings materials of their type, will be jointly manufactured and marketed by the companies and will carry the brand name "QUIKRETE Professional Concrete Coatings," the alliance partners said.

The companies said the line will consist of 14 products that retailers can merchandise under a complete, single-source "Concrete Solution Center." They said a merchandising concept for all 14 products centralizes concrete-coating products in the line, simplifying the shopping and decision-making process for consumers and helping retailers market the category more effectively.

The partners said the alliance combines the technical expertise of the two companies, and is being catalyzed in part by a strategy to "leverage a respected brand name to address an under-served area of the coatings marketplace." The companies said marketing of the product line to retailers nationwide would get under way in August, with shipments scheduled to begin in early 2005.

"Concrete coatings is currently a fragmented category that is confusing for consumers," said Bill Mansfield, Valspar executive vice president and chief operating officer. "There is definitely a need in the marketplace for a comprehensive program."

QUIKRETE Co., based in Atlanta, manufactures and sells an extensive line of cement and concrete-related products, and operates more than 75 manufacturing facilities in the United States, Puerto Rico and South America.