Hot on the heels of its much vaunted re-entry into the German market, Messer is constructing a production plant at Salzgitter AG for approx. €50m and thereby exceeding the company’s own expectations for its return to the domestic field.

The Messer Group has signed a contract with Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH, a subsidiary of Salzgitter AG, to construct and operate an air separation plant, with a contract validity period of 15 years. The industrial gas specialist will invest around €50m in the production plant for oxygen, nitrogen and argon.

The air separation plant on the site of Salzgitter AG will supply more than 30,000 standard cubic metres of oxygen and optionally 40,000 standard cubic metres of nitrogen to the steelworks in gaseous form. Messer will also produce oxygen, nitrogen and argon in liquid form to cater for the local market.

Stefan Messer explained, “The partnership with Salzgitter AG opens up totally new potential for our activities in Germany. We are certain that we will be able to gain the trust of our partner not only on account of our technical concept, but also through our dynamic plans for our return to the German market.”

“After a four-year absence from our domestic market the operational start-ups of our air separators have put us in a position to establish ourselves as a supplier of industrial gases again in the west, north and east of Germany.”

Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH plans to expand its crude steel production at its location in Salzgitter. At the same time production of electric steel at the location of the subsidiary Peiner Träger GmbH in Peine will also be increased. More technical oxygen will be required to guarantee the increased production volume, and Messer will cover this need by building its air separation plant in Salzgitter. The site in Peine which is approx. 30 kilometres away will also be supplied with oxygen from Salzgitter over a new pipeline.

In 2004 Stefan Messer sold Messer Griesheim GmbH and due to a contractual non-competition clause he was not allowed to conduct any business in Germany until May 2007. Until 6th May 2008 he was also forbidden from using the Messer brand in connection with producing and marketing industrial gases in Germany.

The company made a big return to the market on 7th May 2008 and immediately announced the contract for Saltzgitter, while in October 2007 Stefan Messer signed a long-term supply agreement with Deutsche Edelstahlwerke to construct an air separation plant and a filling plant in Siegen. The production plant will begin operations in the autumn of 2009.