Bad Soden, Germany,

Success to continue with new Head of Finance

Hans-Gerd Wienands will be the new financial director of the Messer Group

As of 1 November Dr. Hans-Gerd Wienands will be the new financial director, CFO, for the Messer Group. Working at the side of Stefan Messer, CEO, the 37-year old lawyer from Kerpen will continue the successful course of the industrial gas manufacturer together with the entrepreneur.

Hans-Gerd Wienands, currently a partner at leading international law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in Cologne, is experienced in M&A transactions and international financing.

"We are pleased that in Hans-Gerd Wienands we have found a CFO who knows our company and who can assess relevant processes in our industry", says Stefan Messer. "We shall form a good team together and, with our existing experienced team, press ahead with the profitable course of growth."

"The exciting operating activity of a company I have known for a long time as member of the Messer team of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer appeals to me. This and the good personal contacts with the Messer family prompted me to give up my successful career as a lawyer," says Wienands.

"We see Hans-Gerd Wienands' new role as a confirmation of our successful work for the Messer Group," says Stephan Eilers, co-head of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer's tax practice. "We think highly of him as a partner, however we understand the attraction of the challenge which awaits him. His move will help further strengthen the already good relationship which exists with the client."

In addition to the finance, controlling and accounting department Wienands will also assume responsibility for the IT, Logistics and Production and SHEQ units as well as for the important China region. The Messer Group already has a market share of more than five per cent in China, and in the next few years is planning to invest in projects in China with a volume of more than 50 million Euros.

As of May 2004, the Messer family again holds 100 per cent of the shares of the Messer Group through its holding, Messer Industrie GmbH (MIG), following the acquisition of the shares of financial investors Goldman Sachs and Allianz Capital Partners. Wienands was not only the responsible lawyer for this complex transaction, but also played a major role on behalf of the Messer family in preparing, organising and carrying out the entry of the financial investors that had acquired the Messer shares from Aventis in 2001. Wienands has been advising the MIG in all financial, legal and tax matters since 1998.

"Wienands has entrepreneurial qualities which he will put into practice in his new function", says the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Messer Group, Dr. Jürgen Heraeus. "The variety and international orientation of the gas business requires farsightedness, as well as pragmatism with corporate decisions."

Hans-Gerd Wienands succeeds Harald Pinger, who is leaving the company in order to become financial director of KarstadtQuelle AG. During his tenure as CFO of the Messer Group, Pinger played a major role in pressing ahead and successfully completing the reorganisation and refinancing of the company.

The Messer Group

Messer is among the leading industrial gas companies and operates in 31 countries in Europe and Asia with more than 60 operating companies. The international activities are directed from Frankfurt am Main, while the central technical functions logistics, engineering and production and application technology are controlled from Krefeld. It is expected that the more than 3600 employees will generate consolidated revenue of more than 500 million Euro in 2004.

With the range from acetylene to Xenon, the Messer Group offers a product portfolio that is seen as one of the largest in the market - the company produces industrial gases such as oxygen, nitrogen, argon, carbon dioxide, hydrogen, helium, welding inert gases, special gases, medical gases and many different gas mixtures.

In the most modern competency centres for research and development the Messer Group develops application technologies for using gases in almost all branches of industry, in foodstuffs technology, medicine and research and science.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is a leading international business law firm with a long tradition and excellent base in the regions in which it operates. In the German offices in Berlin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Cologne and Munich alone more than 500 lawyers advise national and international companies and organisations in all fields of business law. More than 2,400 lawyers work at 28 locations worldwide.

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