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Industrial gas producer and supplier, Praxair Inc’s (PX - Analyst Report) Brazilian subsidiary, White Martins recently announced the start-up of an air separation plant in the state of Minas Gerais.

The new air separation plant has 800 tons per day capacity and will primarily cater to industrial gas needs of ArcelorMittal’s production facilities. This long-term supply contract will further solidify the two companies’ relations. White Martins has been supplying industrial gases to five facilities of Arcelor Mittal, located in Espirito Santo, Minas Gerais and Sao Paulo states.

Additionally, Praxair’s plant will also supply gases to customers in the mining, primary metals, automotive, manufacturing and healthcare end markets of the southeastern region of Brazil.

Prior to this plant start-up, Praxair commenced operations at a new hydrogen plant located at Valero’s St. Charles refinery in Norco, La. The plant has a production capacity of 135 million standard cubic feet per day (scfd) of hydrogen. Praxair’s plant will supply hydrogen to Valero Energy Corporation.

A series of plant start-ups and contract wins across various nations signify the growing preferences among customers for Praxair’s world class technology, high quality products and gas supply services. Also, growing applications of industrial gases like hydrogen for refining; oxygen for healthcare; and nitrogen and carbon dioxide for oil and gas production are expected to boost demand for these gases.

Praxair is slated to release its third quarter 2013 financial results on Oct 30, 2013. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the third quarter stands at $1.52. The estimate for years 2013 and 2014 are pegged at $5.95 and $6.71, reflecting annual growth of 6.9% and 12.8%, respectively. Estimated 3-5 years earnings growth rate for the company is 11.8%.   

Praxair has a market capitalization of roughly $36.8 billion and bears a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Other stocks to watch out for in the industry are Air Products & Chemicals Inc. (APD - Analyst Report), FMC Corp. (FMC - Analyst Report) and PPG Industries Inc. (PPG - Analyst Report), each with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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