Praxair Costa Rica, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Praxair Inc. is reported to have acquired a new ASU plant, considered to be one of the most modern in Latin America.

The investment is part of the expansion plan the company has been developing for several years, including the relocation of its operating facilities from Tres Ríos to El Coyol de Alajuela in the Propark Industrial Park, according to a report by El Financiero.

The equipment will allow a five-fold increase in production capacity and the company will be able to sell its products outside the national market, in particular to Panamá, Central America and the Caribbean.

According to General Manager Cristian Sauter, investment in the plant is worth an estimated US$15m.

Sauter is also believed to have indicated that the plant, which was purchased in Italy from another Praxair subsidiary, will be commissioned in the second quarter of 2009, between May and June.

Assembly and relocation
Over the course of the next few months the company will build the necessary structures and assemble the plant, with work due to begin in October. Praxair believes this could take around two to three months.

Assembling the plant will be the task of Costa Rican engineers and once finished, the Italian engineers will travel to the country to corroborate.

Relocating the new plant required a big logistics effort given that it is one of the largest ever brought into the country. It had to be moved from Italy to Moín Port in Limón, and that required a special ship.

The 15th September saw the ASU components moved through the roads to the new facilities at El Coyol, a process expected to take approximately three or four weeks to be concluded.

El Financiero notes that Sauter explained the many benefits of the new facility in Costa Rica. Currently, Praxair Costa Rica exports sporadically but with the new plant they will process oxygen, nitrogen and argon to be sold in Panama and Nicaragua.

Praxair will supply the gas distributors on a pick-up scheme, mainly due to transportation costs.