Bad Soden, Germany,

Messer: Second major plant under construction

Messer now lays the foundation stone for a production plant for the steel concern Salzgitter AG – the industrial gases specialist invests approx. 50 million euros.

Messer is officially launching the construction of a second major production plant for industrial gases in Germany. The family firm is investing around 50 million euros in a so-called air separation unit for the production of oxygen, nitrogen and argon. On 7 May 2009, Messer is laying the foundation stone for the production unit on the site of Salzgitter Flachstahl, a company owned by Salzgitter AG. With long-term projects (the contract runs for a period of 15 years), the largest privately managed industrial gas manufacturer is defying the economic crisis: The symbolic act of laying the foundation stone underscores the long-term nature of the project – the latest daily newspapers from the region, a complete set of currency and a copy of the contract between Messer and Salzgitter are to be buried in a so-called time capsule in the foundation stone.

The air separation unit will feed up to 28,000 standard cubic metres of gaseous oxygen per hour into the distribution network of Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH. Through a long-distance oxygen pipeline from Salzgitter to Peine, Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH is establishing a joint supply with Peiner Träger GmbH, also owned by Salzgitter AG. Messer may optionally deliver up to 40,000 standard cubic metres of gaseous nitrogen per hour to the company. Messer will also produce oxygen, nitrogen and argon in liquid form in order to serve the local market.

Messer is currently also investing 35 million euros in the construction of a production unit on the Deutsche Edelstahlwerke site in Siegen. This will start operating in October. These are the first two air separators in Germany from the Messer Group GmbH, which was founded anew in 2004 when all the shares were acquired by the family. A year ago, following a four-year contractual ban on the manufacture and sale of gases in Germany under its familiar brand name, Messer returned to its home market with a new production and sales company. In 2008, Messer invested over 190 million euros in the expansion of its production capacities in Europe and in Asia.