US Praxair sees signs of improvement in Brazil

24 April 2013 21:55  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Praxair is seeing signs that the Brazilian economy is improving after slow growth in 2012, the chief financial officer of the US-based industrial gas producer said on Wednesday.

Brazil's economy was particularly slow in the fourth quarter, said James Sawyer, chief financial officer of Praxair.

He made his comments during an earnings conference call.

In March, however, the company did see some improvement, Sawyer said.

"It definitely is not up to the volumes that we have seen a couple of years ago, but it is up sequentially in March from the third and fourth quarters of last year," he said. So far, the trend seems to be continuing in April, he said.

As a result, Brazil should perform better this year than in 2012, although not up to its prior years' growth rates, Sawyer said.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects the Brazilian economy to grow by 3.0% this year, compared with 0.9% in 2012. In 2010, the economy grew by 7.5%.

"There are many, many roadblocks and bottlenecks in the economy," he said.

The country is well known for its so-called "custo brasileiro", which describes the red tape, taxes, borrowing costs and other barriers to doing business in Brazil.

Among other obstacles, Sawyer said the federal government is the main sponsor of nonresidential construction, and it is moving very slowly on projects.

Also, Brazil also has issues with the competitiveness of its steel industry, Sawyer said.


By: Al Greenwood
+1 713 525 2645



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