White Martins, the Brazil-based subsidiary of Praxair, Inc. (NYSE: PX) has started up a new air separation plant in the state of Alagoas, in Brazil´s northeast region. As part of the long-term contract, Praxair will supply nitrogen and oxygen to Braskem, the largest petrochemical company in the Americas and the world´s largest producer of biopolymers. The plant has a capacity of 200 tons per day and will supply Braskem’s expanded polyvinyl chloride (PVC) unit. Braskem has invested an estimated $500 million in the new industrial unit -- the highest investment ever made by the company for a single project in Brazil. Braskem’s facility produces vinylic materials, polyethylene and polypropylene to serve industries such as footwear, toys, housing, sanitation and infrastructure. With one PVC unit currently operating in Alagoas, this project will almost double Braskem’s annual PVC production capacity in the state, making Alagoas the largest producer of PVC in Latin America. The investment marks the strengthening of the chemical and plastic production chain, while promoting industrial development in the region. “White Martins has played a fundamental role in the execution of this project, which ensures the reliable supply of oxygen, a critical production input at Braskem’s new PVC plant in the state of Alagoas.” said Marcelo Cerqueira, vice president of Braskem’s Vinyls Unit. “This facility is very important to the state and to Brazil, as it will serve domestic demand, especially in the construction industry.” "We are proud to be selected by Braskem to take part in this important project. The start up of our new air separation plant further demonstrates our ability to reliably serve large, world-class petrochemical facilities and our commitment to a long-term relationship with Braskem," said Domingos Bulus, president of White Martins. About White Martins Gases Industriais Ltda. White Martins has supplied a comprehensive range of industrial gases and technologies to customers in a wide variety of industries for 100 years. In addition to Brazil, it has operations in eight other South American countries and is the leading industrial and medical gases supplier in the region.