Bad Soden, Germany,

Billion barrier broken for first time

In fiscal year 2011 the largest privately managed industrial gas com-pany, Messer, was able to increase its sales by 13 per cent compared to the previous year to more than one billion euros.

Industrial gas specialist Messer achieved worldwide sales of 1.029 billion euros in fiscal year 2011 and was thus able to better the total sales in 2010 by some 120 million euros. The EBITDA in 2011 was approx. 241 million euros. “The world economy is in a state of upheaval: Asia is developing into the largest and most dynamic economic region on our planet. We in-vested early in growth regions and future markets. Our successful return to the German gas market was also an important and correct step,” declares Stefan Messer, owner and Chief Executive Officer of the Messer Group. The family-owned company invested a further 191 million euros in the ex-pansion of its core business.

“The investments of the Messer Group are aimed at ensuring the eco-nomic security of the existing business and at utilising cost-effective growth potential. Messer invested primarily in projects which guarantee products are supplied with industrial gases and offer opportunities for prof-itable growth,” underscored Dr. Hans-Gerd Wienands, Chief Financial Offi-cer at the Messer Group.

Good development in Europe
Typical of fiscal year 2011 in Europe were the high increases in sales. Compared to the previous year, sales in Western Europe increased by nine per cent. Most of this increase was once again the result of business activities in Germany, where sales grew by a good two thirds in compari-son with the previous year. This was due above all to the air separation plant at Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH in Salzgitter, which was commissioned in August 2010. Business activities in France and Switzerland also drove growth in the region.

Compared with the sales figures in the previous year, Central Europe re-corded a decline in sales of almost six per cent. This can be attributed ex-clusively to the industrial gas activities in the Baltics and Ukraine which are no longer fully consolidated and which from 1 January 2011 were only consolidated as shares in associated companies according to the equity method. On a comparable basis, the fully consolidated activities in Central Europe, by contrast, saw a growth in sales of a good six per cent.

The strongest increase in sales compared to the previous year which the Messer Group recorded in Europe was in Southeast Europe, which posted growth of ten per cent. In contrast to 2010, a significant growth in sales was achieved by all the main companies in the region. Above all the busi-ness activities in Serbia, Macedonia and Turkey stood out, each returning growth rates compared to the previous year of around 17 per cent. In Tur-key the air separation plant which began operating in June 2010 played a particularly important role.

Continuous growth in Asia and Peru
The dynamic sales in China continued, with an increase of 28 per cent compared to the previous year. Here all ten operative companies profited from the country’s continued strong economic growth. The Messer compa-nies recorded the strongest sales growth through on-site supply of steel works customers. In Vietnam sales in 2011 once again increased sharply compared to the previous year, by more than 40 per cent. The air separa-tion plant in the north of Vietnam which was commissioned in October 2010 contributed greatly to this success. This first air separation plant from Messer in Vietnam ensures the on-site supply of the steel works and at the same time guarantees independent product supply for Messer’s liquid gas market activities.

Business development in Peru was also extremely positive, and as a result of a positive development of the liquid and cylinder gas market sales were once again increased by a good 25 per cent compared to the previous year.

Prospects of the Messer Group
The Messer Group has planned sales growth of around eight per cent in 2012.

Printed and online versions of the Annual Report
This year Messer will publish its Annual Report both in printed form and on the internet. The motto of the Annual Report 2011 is “Gases for Life”. With its new claim, Messer wishes not only to emphasise its business purpose and its corporate culture, but also to demonstrate the wide range of prod-ucts and the responsible entrepreneurial activity of the family-owned com-pany. The online Annual Report is available now at the following address: