Abbott Vascular to Open Plant

The U.S. firm of Abbott Vascular will open a new $50 million manufacturing plant in El Coyol de Alajuela that will begin with 500 new jobs, reported the business newspaper El Financiero. Foreign Trade Minister Anabel Gonzalez announced that eventually, the 16,000 square meter plant will employ 3,000 workers.

It will be Abbott's seventh such plant and the first in a non-industrial nation. With its headquarters in northern California, the company produces products for cardio-vascular care.

The plant is expected to be finished by the end of the year. It will be the fourth such new or drastically expanded operation here this year. Nitinol Devices & Componenets opened last June, followed by Motif in August, and St. Jude Medical expanded its operation just last week.

Minnesota-based medical supply company St. Jude Medical plans to invest an estimated $670 million in Costa Rica and employ 2,000 in the next five years. Their plant will specialize in replacement valves for weakened or damaged aortas, vital in ensuring blood flow throughout the body.

After cutting the ribbon at the St. Jude's plant plant last Friday, President Laura Chinchilla called the great investment not only an opportunity but a challenge for the country. "It obliges us to strengthen our innovation technology," she said, "commit greater effort to developing our young professionals and to keep fighting to increase the competitiveness of our economy."

Medical exports in 2009 totaled $1.34 billion for the country's economy, or about 15.5% of all exports during the year, second only to the 20% of microprocessors and electronic components.