gasworld returns to Budapest, Hungary this summer to pick up the baton of previous conferences in the region and deliver the European Industrial Gas Summit 2020, at a time of considerable change in the market.
Finding and leveraging opportunities for growth was the underlying theme of gasworld’s previous two conferences in Europe in 2015 and 2016, when a very different market existed.
Five years on, and the gasworld stage returns to Budapest this summer to pick up the baton of this journey and look at how the European industrial gases business is, on so many levels, A Market Redefined.
The Summit will be held at the New York Palace hotel from 2-3rd June and is already confirmed to welcome some of the biggest names in the European industrial gases business as keynote speakers.
The scene for their insights has very much been set over the last two years. The very face of the market has been redefined in this timeframe as the mega-merger of Praxair, Inc. and The Linde Group led to significant divestments in Europe and across the globe.
The European Commission (EC) approved – under the EU Merger Regulation – the proposed mega merger of equals between Praxair and Linde, conditional on the divestiture of an extensive remedy package, notably comprised of Praxair’s entire gas business in the European Economic Area (EEA) and the transfer of Praxair’s stake in the SIAD Group, its Italian joint venture (JV) in Central and Eastern Europe as well as Italy, to Praxair’s current JV partner Flow-Fin SpA.
These divestments therefore saw the arrival of Nippon Gases Europe in the region, with Japan’s Taiyo Nippon Sanso (TNSC) acquiring the majority of Praxair’s businesses in Europe for €5bn in cash consideration and the SIAD Group moving to full independence under the sole ownership of Flow-Fin (a financial company controlled by Sefin SpA and owned by the Sestini family).
Assets acquired by TNSC and rebranded Nippon Gases Europe included Praxair’s industrial gases businesses in Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and (combined) generated annual sales of approximately €1.3bn in 2017.
Applications and operations
Behind the redefining of the very visual face of the market, there is also significant change at both an application and operational level.
Supply chains are evolving and diversifying, with the high-profile CO2 business a prime example of an industry striving for greater sourcing security.
There is a wind of change which has started to influence the CO2 market and it will most probably continue to do so for the coming years, we understand. The switch from a linear economy to a circular economy approach will be one of the game-changers the market will experience, according to Pentair Union Engineering.
Applications are evolving and emerging, while the clean energies transition is about to change society and the economy as we knew it. Europe is at the heart of this with its budding hydrogen infrastructure, for example, and a plethora of innovators in hydrogen production, storage and usage, but so too is the gases industry with its inherent knowledge, expertise and technologies.
Meanwhile, the wave of digitisation is changing the way the industry thinks and operates, a transition in itself that is widely expected to accelerate in 2020 and the next few years ahead.
“This is a time of considerable change in the region, as reflected in our agenda. The face of the market has very visibly evolved at the hands of M&A activity, and the industry itself is embarking on new paths forward in terms of applications and how it leverages the opportunities presented by digitisation,” explained gasworld Global Managing Editor Rob Cockerill.
All of which means it’s time to re-appraise where the European industrial gases business stands today – where the challenges and opportunities are, what it takes to be successful in the region, and what new applications are driving the market forward.