By Gayle Putrich, Plastics News
Washington, DC - Medical extruder Natvar, a division of Tekni-Plex Inc., is expanding operations into Costa Rica, beginning in June.
Over the next 18 months, Natvar expects to invest $4 million in a new 40,000-sq-ft (3716 sq.m) facility that will mirror the equipment, tooling and compounds of its plants in the United States, Europe and Asia, said Bob Donahue, general manager of global medical operations.
"Our goal is that when you walk into any of our plants, that the procedures and processes and certifications are identical," Donahue said.
Natvar provides medical-device companies with precision tubing for chemotherapy, cardiovascular and other applications using materials such as polyurethane, polyethylene and PVC. The company began considering Costa Rica as an expansion location two years ago. The establishment of a free-trade zone - where there are no taxes on capital equipment coming in or products going out - plus a stable economy and a highly educated workforce with low turnover makes the country an appealing location for more than just Natvar.
"Everybody we deal with in the US is in Costa Rica," Donahue said. "Boston Scientific, St. Jude … more than 25 medical tech companies in the last couple years. It's been the new hot spot since 2010."
Costa Rica is coming to see itself as a "medical devices hotspot." In 2011, medical devices accounted for 3 percent of gross domestic product and represented 11.8 percent of total exports. CINDE - the Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency ¬- estimates the medical-device and medical technology sector will become Costa Rica's top exporter within the next three years.
Both Tekni-Plex and Natvar are headquartered in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.
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