Bad Soden, Germany,

Unique company history

Industrial gases specialist Messer publishes a new issue of the corporate thriller about the return to family ownership

Messer has published a new issue of the exciting business thriller “100 per cent Messer – the return of the family-owned company” with the Piper publishing house. In the book historian Jörg Lesczenski describes the unusual history of the Messer family company that seemed lost but was able to be reclaimed. Over almost 270 pages, it tells the story of Messer from its beginnings in 1898 to the present day with numerous colour and black and white images.

For 120 years, the Messer name has stood for expertise in the field of industrial gases, as well as welding and cutting technology. Founded as a family business in 1898 by Adolf Messer, in 1965 his son Hans merged the Adolf Messer & Co. GmbH with parts of the Knapsack-Griesheim AG to become the Messer Griesheim GmbH. Although the Hoechst AG held two thirds of the shares, the family’s influence on company policy was retained. The retirement of Hans Messer from the executive management, a change in group policy of the majority shareholder and a failed globalisation strategy took the company to the brink of ruin in the 90s.

Stefan Messer’s intention to maintain the position of the family - now in its third generation - in the operational area, as well as the successful restructuring policy supported by financial investors, resulted in the “renaissance of the family”. For 15 years, the former Messer Griesheim GmbH – now Messer Group GmbH – is once again a family-run company. In 2004 Messer had 3,700 employees and a turnover of €521 million.Today, Messer is a group of companies with around 11,000 employees and the largest family-run specialist in industrial, medical and specialty gases worldwide.