DANBURY, Conn., May 27, 2004 — White Martins Gases Industriais Ltda, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Praxair, Inc. (NYSE:PX), announced today that it has signed a 15-year agreement with the giant Brazilian steel company, Companhia Siderurgica de Tubarao (CST), for the supply of oxygen, nitrogen and argon.
White Martins will construct and operate two new air separation units at CST’s facilities at Serra, near Vitoria, to support the expansion of CST’s steel production capacity. The cryogenic units will be engineered and built locally by White Martins, and will produce 2,600 tons per day of industrial gases when they become operational in mid-2006.
CST will increase its production capacity from 5 million tons per year to 7.5 millions tons per year as part of the Brazilian government’s goal of increasing the country’s steel production capacity by 30% to 44 million tons per year.
“This agreement, which protects White Martins from currency fluctuations, will have a positive impact on the Brazilian economy as CST gears up to meet the increasing global demand for steel,” said White Martins' president, Domingos Bulus. “CST’s selection of White Martins extends the existing partnership between the two companies and underscores the value of White Martins’ advanced technology and its reliable systems,” Bulus added.
CST is the world leader in the production of semi-finished steel products with 2003 sales of about US$983.5 million. It accounts for 20% of the total volume of semi-finished steel traded worldwide, with slab exports to over 12 countries.
White Martins, headquartered in Rio de Janeiro, is the leading supplier of industrial and medical gases in Brazil. In the steel and mining segment, it supplies major Brazilian companies such as Groupo Gerdau, Companhia Siderurgica Nacional, Grupo Usiminas/Cosipa System and Belgo Mineira.
Praxair is the largest industrial gases company in North and South America, and one of the largest worldwide, with 2003 sales of $5.6 billion. The company produces, sells and distributes atmospheric and process gases, and high-performance surface coatings. Praxair products, services and technologies bring productivity and environmental benefits to a wide variety of industries, including aerospace, chemicals, food and beverage, electronics, energy, healthcare, manufacturing, metals and others. More information on Praxair is available on the Internet at www.praxair.com.