"Our No. 1 goal is to increase shareholder value" -- so reads the first sentence under the "Business Strategy" section of Worthington Industries' (NYSE:WOR) 2006 10-K filing. When I read that, my skepticism kicked in. I wanted to find out whether this was just another case of a company saying what we want to hear.

In this case, I learned that Worthington's management seems to deliver the goods.

Worthington is a diversified metal-processing company that offers value-added steel-based products -- the simple idea being that you take steel, use your know-how to turn it into something specific, and make a nice profit when you sell it. This is a wonderful business to be in, if my recent readings on Ipsco (NYSE:IPS) offer any indication. Ipsco, a Canadian processor of value-added steel products, has been on a tear over the past few years.

Worthington's specialty is taking steel and making things such as metal frames, roof trusses, fasteners, and other similar and useful components. Worthington is one of America's largest independent intermediate processors of flat steel, and it also makes the pressure cylinders that we use everyday for gas grills, soda-fountain machines, RVs, and a host of other industrial uses.

The company competes with the likes of Gibraltar Industries (NASDAQ:ROCK) and AK Steel (NYSE:AKS), which are experiencing a decline in profitability and margins, with material costs rising and product volumes slipping. In Worthington's case, at least, one can see that management remains committed to shareholder value. As if to underscore that point, my friend Mason Hawkins, the value-investing legend, recently disclosed a stake in Worthington -- and Hawkins makes investments only when he can team up with shareholder-oriented managers.

So while net income fell to $0.06 per share versus $0.21 for the comparable quarter, management made no excuses. "We are not satisfied with the results.... We are confident that growth opportunities exist ... in the long term," Worthington's CEO in the most recent earnings release. In the meantime, Worthington continues to buy back stock.

Trading at 13 times earnings and a respectable return on equity of 15%, Worthington makes for a compelling value, even under the current tough operating environment. If management can deliver during these more difficult periods, Worthington just might be a diamond in the rough, waiting to shine .

As usual, good things come to those who wait.

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Fool contributor Sham Gad is currently launching Gad Investment Funds, a value-based investment partnership based on the works of Benjamin Graham and Warren Buffett. Sham owns none of the companies mentioned. You can reach him at shamMF@fool.com.