Messer recently broke ground on an air separation plant in the Upper Silesian city of Rybnik in Poland’s industrial heartland. Beginning in 2009, the plant will produce technical and medical gases for the Polish, Slovakian and Czech Markets. Owner and CEO Stefan Messer said, $quot;In our core markets, especially in Central and Eastern Europe, we are using our experience to continuously expand the supply structure.

$quot;In many processes, compliance with the European Union environmental directives is only possible with the help of the properties of gases.$quot;

In the period leading up to 2011, the Messer Group is investing €450m in air separation plants, gas filling plants and technology centres, of which €300m will be invested in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Particular attention will be given to expanding the gas production plants on customer sites with the main aim of further reducing the number of gas deliveries by tanker trucks.

In addition to liquid technical gases, the plant in Rybnik will also produce medical oxygen for the ventilation of patients in hospitals or receiving home care; it will also supply high purity nitrogen for use in the food industry. “We will expand the supply of vital medical gases and medical equipment in Central and Eastern Europe,“ adds Stefan Messer. In Hungary, for example, the number of patients receiving home care has risen from 2,300 to almost 4,000 since 2004. Among other things, Messer distributes oxygen concentrators that allow patients who are dependent on a constant supply of oxygen due to chronic respiratory disease to continue to live a flexible day-to-day life.

The production plant in Rybnik that will supply the high purity medical oxygen is being built by the plant engineering specialist Cryogenic Engineering, a joint venture between Messer and HangYang Ltd., the largest Chinese manufacturer of air separation plants. The construction of the air separation plant will, for the first time, provide Messer in Poland with its own, independent product supply for the largest industrial gas market in Central Europe. The Polish company, which is the second largest in the Messer Group, achieved a turnover of around €50m in the last year.