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Praxair's Plant in Colombia

Zacks Equity Research

One of the leading industrial gas producers and suppliers, Praxair Inc. (PX) recently announced the opening of a new air separation plant, the third of its kind, in Colombia.

The plant with a daily producing capacity of 200 tons of oxygen, nitrogen and argon is located 50 km from Bogota in the free trade zone of Gran Sabana. The industrial gases produced will be supplied to Brazilian steelmaker, Gerdau S.A.’s (GGB) plant in Colombia. Apart from this, the plant will also take care of the requirements of the local oil and gas, manufacturing, chemicals, food and beverage and medical industry.

Of late, Praxair started a number of air separation plants including two in China. One was started in Nanjing, Jiangsu province for Meishan Iron and Steel Co., Ltd while another in Wuwei, Anhui province, for coal based chemicals project of Anhui HuaYi Chemical Co., Ltd.

A series of plant start-ups and contract wins signifies the growing preferences among customers for Praxair’s world class technology, high quality products and gas supply services.

The current Zacks Consensus Estimate for the second quarter of 2012 is $1.42, representing a year-over-year increase of 3.07%. Estimates for the fiscal years 2012 and 2013 are $5.79 and $6.59, reflecting annual growth of 6.54% and 13.85%, respectively.

Praxair is slated to release its second quarter 2012 financial results on July 25, while its prime competitor, Air Products & Chemicals Inc. (APD) is expected to declare its third quarter results on July 24, 2012.

We maintain a Neutral recommendation on Praxair. The stock also carries a Zacks #4 Rank, implying a short-term (1-3 months) Sell rating.

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