Boston Scientific opens new plant in Costa Rica

June 5, 2009

A top-tier producer of medical devices opened its second production facility in Costa Rica Tuesday, with an elaborate ceremony held to commemorate the investment, including a presidential tour of the production lines to top off the event.

With its second building – located in the Propark free-trade zone near Alajuela, northwest of San José – Boston Scientific has close to doubled its original 2004 investment in Costa Rica, with the new facility´s price reaching nearly $30 million. The company, which already employs 1,700 workers in its operations here, is also expecting to double the number of employees in the coming two years, said Jorge Perera, the company´s vice president of operations in Costa Rica.

The jobs cross the educational spectrum, ranging from highly specialized engineering positions to the trained, technical positions that would involve piecing together the intricate devices for which the company is known worldwide. About 60 percent of employees work technical jobs that don´t require a university degree, while the other 40 percent are positions that require higher education, Perera said.

President Oscar Arias spoke at the opening ceremony of the reputation for innovation of not only the company, but of the city of Boston, where he attended Boston University.

“(Boston) is a city where it´s not important the hat on top of your head, but the ideas inside it,” Arias said. That is now a reality here, he said, after years of investment in education.

Arias´ remarks were echoed by Boston Scientific´s vice president of operations based outside the United States, Gary Hicks.

“We picked Costa Rica to build this plant because this country offers a skilled, well-educated population,” he said. “And that is very important for us. We view it as much as an investment in people as in facilities.”

Boston Scientific – based out of Natick, Massachusetts, in the U.S., established its first plant in Costa Rica in the Global Park free-trade zone near Heredia, north of the capital, in 2004. The Costa Rican facilities are the company´s largest producers of specialized equipment for treating diseases along the gastrointestinal tract, which runs from the mouth to the anus.

The company has almost 29,000 employees worldwide, with 15,000 different products made in 26 plants across the globe. The company is the largest manufacturer of “non-invasive” equipment, and supplies the equipment to almost every country across the globe, said Hicks.

See the June 12 print or PDF edition of The Tico Times for more on this story.

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