In the financial year 2007 the Messer Group, operating in its core regions of Europe and Asia and through its subsidiary in Peru, achieved a turnover of €705m and an EBITDA of €154m.
Turnover rose 12% on the previous year, while the same period saw steep rises in energy, raw materials and product delivery costs. The group successfully maintained its market presence in all these regions and in some cases even enlarged it, with a succession of investments boosting this performance.
The Messer Group invested in independent product sourcing, with investment totalling €173m and equivalent to 24.6% of annual turnover. As in the previous year, most of the investment was in the construction of air separation plants for the production of nitrogen, oxygen and argon, indeed the most important investments in Europe saw an air separation plant constructed in Spain to safeguard the growth potential of the existing pipeline system in the Tarragona chemical complex.
Messer also embarked on the construction of air separation plants for on-site customers with whom long-term supply contracts were agreed in 2007. These production plants were designed to supply not only the main customer but also the liquid market and apply to the new air separation plants in the Valais canton of Switzerland, Rumania (Resita) and Bosnia-Herzegovina (Zenica). Some investment was also made in industrial gas bottling, with state-of-the-art bottling plants coming on-line in Denmark and France.
In Italy and Romania, relocation included the commencement of the construction of new bottling plants.
In China a fifth air separation plant has been completed for one of the country’s biggest steelworks in Hunan, and progress has been made on an additional production facility to meet increased demand from one of the company’s chief customers in Chengdu. In Vietnam a long-term supply contract has been signed with an important steel manufacturer, laying the foundations for a first air separation plant there.
Substantial turnover increases were felt in the core European and Asian markets though, with turnover in Western Europe reaching €238m.
The chief contribution was from the further development of technologies for handling CO2 with regard to environmental protection and food technology, while safeguarding gas supplies. Another substantial contribution came from the expanding medicinal gas business in Italy and the Benelux. €196m of this turnover was generated in Central Europe, a rise of 7%. The expanding helium business in Austria and dynamic overall economic expansion in Poland and the Czech Republic, due largely to foreign investment, boosted the demand for gas in all sectors of industry.
Messer’s Baltic and Ukrainian subsidiaries also exhibited rapid growth, as did the company’s 2007 Chinese turnover - totalling €94m, a 24% rise.