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Cablegate: Argentina: Ambassador Visits Praxair and Greif in Tigre

VZCZCXYZ0016
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #1157 2281942
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 151942Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1796

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 001157

SIPDIS

USDOC FOR 4322/ITA/MAC/OCAC/APEACHER
USDOC FOR 3134/USFCS/OIO/WH/RD/BBRISSON
STATE FOR ECON WHA/BSC

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EINV BEXP AR
SUBJECT: ARGENTINA: AMBASSADOR VISITS PRAXAIR AND GREIF IN TIGRE

1. SUMMARY: On July 31, Ambassador toured the facilities of two U.S.
firms, Praxair and Greif, located in Tigre, in the Province of
Buenos Aires. Both companies are thriving in Argentina. Praxair is
a leading worldwide producer of industrial gases with nine plants in
Argentina. Company priorities are focused on employee safety and
supporting their local communities through Corporate Social
Responsibility (CSR) Programs. Ambassador also visited the
facilities of U.S. industrial packaging company Greif. Greif
highlighted the company's commitment to its current CSR programs and
to developing a student co-op program with a technical school.
Following the plant tour, the Ambassador was accompanied by Greif
Executives to the "Rincon de los Abuelos," a community food kitchen
supported by Greif's daily food donations to 20 seniors. End
summary.


-----------------------------------
Ambassador Tours Praxair Argentina
-----------------------------------

2. Ambassador toured Praxair's facilities located in Tigre, Province
of Buenos Aires. Praxair is a leading world producer of industrial
gases, with nine plants in Argentina. Company officials reported
that sales during 2007 reached USD 81.2 million and that the company
had grown at 17 percent yearly since 2003. Praxair stated that they
recently implemented the "Six Sigma method," with the objective of
improving processes and productivity that has resulted in a 45
percent savings in costs for Praxair.

3. Company officials explained that one of their most important
priorities is to guarantee employee safety and to support their
local communities through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
Programs. One CSR initiative is to raise awareness on safety and
environmental protection issues by offering instruction in this
area.

4. Following the briefing and tour, Praxair officials asked the
Ambassador to comment on the Argentine political and economic
scenario. Praxair officials highlighted that although the current
outlook seems complicated, Praxair is committed to expanding in the
market and has successfully conveyed this need to their management
team in the United States.

---------------------------------
Ambassador Visits Greif Argentina
---------------------------------

5. Greif is a world leader in industrial packaging, with four plants
in Argentina. The company has recently approved USD 2 million for
technological refurbishment projects in Argentina. Greif's new
General Manager, Eduardo Simoniello, stated that the Ambassador's
visit was timely and extremely important as the company recently
completely restructured in order to optimize performance. In fact,
of the six company officials present, only one had more than one
year of service at Greif.


6. Ambassador toured the metal and plastic packaging production
areas. Company officials explained that while metal barrel
packaging was decreasing, plastic packaging was growing considerably
due to higher food exports, including grape juice, pulp, olive oil,
and others. Plastic packaging is increasingly replacing metal barrel
packaging in several industries.

7. Greif's newly appointed HR Manager, Debora Migoni, highlighted
the company's commitment to their current CSR programs, and her
desire to develop a student co-op program with a technical school in
Tigre. Ms. Migoni had assumed this position three days prior to the
visit but it was clear that she had already begun work on new CSR
initiatives.

---------------------------------------------
Tour of Senior Dining Hall supported by Greif
---------------------------------------------

8. At the conclusion of the visit, Ambassador and Greif Executives
visited the "Rincon de los Abuelos," a community food kitchen
established in 2002 supported entirely by Greif's daily food
donations to 20 seniors daily. The Ambassador met with Comedor
staff and toured their facilities, congratulating them on their
efforts and commitment. Following the meeting, Simoniello commented
to the Ambassador that this was his first visit to the kitchen and
that Greif would do much more to further support their efforts.


WAYNE

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