Praxair, Inc. broke ground on its new air separation unit (ASU) in Memphis, Tenn., to support current and projected growth in the U.S. southeast region. With a capacity of 600 tons per day, the new plant is scheduled to start up in the second quarter 2013. Praxair currently operates three ASUs in the Memphis area that supply a number of customers, including Nucor Corp. and Valero Energy Corp. Praxair recently started up a plant and commissioned a pipeline capable of serving multiple customers in the Riverport area.

Praxair and Memphis-based nexAir LLC, one of the largest distributors of atmospheric gases and welding supplies in the U.S., announced plans to form a joint venture. According to terms of the joint venture, Praxair will contribute eight branches of its packaged gas distribution business in Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee and acquire an equity stake in the combined business, which will have sales of approximately $150 million.