Further to the news that Linde plc has completed its required divestitures in the US, the Messer Group has confirmed its joint venture with CVC Capital Partners has acquired the majority of Linde’s gases business in North America and certain Linde and Praxair business activities in South America.

The acquisitions are effective today, 1st March (2019).

The joint venture – called Messer Industries – is investing around $3.6bn (€3.2bn) in the acquisitions, which provide Messer with the ‘unique opportunity’ to return to the North and South American markets.

A period of investor instability and restructuring of the Messer Group under its former guise in the early 2000s saw two-thirds of the company sold off in 2004 – including industrial gas operations in the UK, US and Germany.

Now, however, in partnership with CVC, the Messer Group has the opportunity to re-enter the Americas markets, as owner and CEO Stefan Messer explains, “In creating this strategic partnership, we are seizing a unique opportunity to return to the North and South American markets. This will turn Messer into a global player in this sector and consolidate its position as the largest family-run industrial gases specialist worldwide.”

“It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

“We intend to fully integrate the joint venture into the family-run Messer Group within a few years,” he added. “In the medium term, we want to use the merger of the two companies to become a global player again with a presence in the relevant industrial gases markets.”

Stefan-Messer-CEO-Messer-Group-owner

Source: Messer Group

“It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity…We intend to fully integrate the joint venture into the family-run Messer Group within a few years”

Stefan Messer

With some 5,400 employees, the Linde activities acquired in the US, Canada, Brazil and Colombia, along with Praxair’s Chilean operation, generated sales of around $1.8bn (€1.6bn) with EBITDA of approximately $408m (€359m) in 2018.

gasworld’s Senior Business Analyst Jonny Dearden said Messer’s return to North America, following its acquisition of Linde assets in the US and Canada, will result in the German company holding an overall North American market share of around 14%. This makes them the fourth largest player active in the North American market.

Messer Industries

Messer is contributing the majority of its Western European companies to the new Messer Industries joint venture, with the majority of its Western European companies in Benelux, Denmark, Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland and Portugal involved, as well as its Algerian entity.

This represents around 830 employees, generating sales of €339m and EBITDA of €54m for Messer Group GmbH in 2018.