Praxair, Inc. has signed a long-term contract to provide nitrogen to Toray Carbon Fibers America, Inc., a US subsidiary of Toray Industries, Inc.

Praxair will build, own, and operate an air separation plant that will supply Toray with nitrogen for use in manufacturing carbon fiber at its new Spartanburg County, South Carolina, facility. The carbon fiber will be used by aerospace, automotive, sporting goods, and other manufacturing customers regionally and internationally. Praxair’s plant is expected to start up in 2017.

“We are very pleased to have been selected by Toray and are looking forward to providing one of the world’s leading carbon fiber manufacturers an efficient, reliable supply of industrial gases as it continues to grow in South Carolina and globally,” said Todd F. Lawson, Vice President, East Region for Praxair’s US industrial gases business. “With this plant we are also enhancing density in our strong Carolinas supply network, further enabling us to serve the growing demand for our products by aerospace, automotive and food customers.”

Southeast shake-up

This announcement comes just nine days after Connecticut-based Praxair announced a merging of joint ventures in the Southeast US region, bringing together Praxair Distribution Southeast LLC and nexAir to operate under the latter’s management:

The transaction involves merging Praxair Distribution Southeast, LLC (PDSE), a PDI joint venture operating in Florida and southeast Georgia since 1997, into Memphis, Tennessee-based nexAir, LLC (nexAir), a 75-year old company which entered into a joint venture with PDI in 2012, with locations in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. nexAir will grow to have annual sales of more than $200 million and 67 locations with the merger, adding coverage throughout the state of Florida. Its existing senior management team will continue to lead the combined business.

“Both the PDSE and nexAir businesses have been very successful partnerships for PDI in the southeast and it makes sense to now combine them. It will allow us to streamline and simplify our management processes and improve customer focus and clarity around PDI’s channel strategy. Together we will provide a stronger network of services and capabilities throughout the region,” said Scott Kaltrider, President, Praxair Distribution, Inc.