Following the passing of the contractual non-competition clause, Stefan Messer is now leading the Messer Group back into the German industrial gas market and marked this significant achievement with a celebratory ceremony and press conference.

Effective as of 7th May, the Messer Group will once more produce and market technical and medical gases in Germany through the company Messer Industriegase GmbH. Following the sale of Messer Griesheim in 2004, the largest owner-managed industrial gas specialist in the world, was subject to a three-year contractual non-competition clause and a further one-year ban on using the brand in connection with producing and selling gases in Germany.

Messer Industriegase GmbH, like the holding company Messer Group GmbH, has its headquarters in Sulzbach near Frankfurt am Main. Messer is investing around €90m in, among other things, production plants for air gases in Siegen, North Rhine-Westphalia, and in Salzgitter, Lower Saxony. The air separation plants will go into service in the autumn of 2009 and the summer of 2010 respectively, and will supply nitrogen, oxygen and argon for use in all branches of industry.

Stefan Messer, owner and CEO of the Messer Group, reflected on the re-entry, “With our new German company, which was renamed Messer Industriegase GmbH on 7th May 2008, we want to become a big fish amongst the minnows, not the other way around. We have the benefit of our experience as a major industrial gases specialist.”

Messer has announced it will construct a state-of-the-art plant for filling industrial gases into steel cylinders in the Weisstal industrial park in Siegen, investing up to €2m in the new plant, which will begin operations in mid-2008. The company also wishes to supply the medium-sized metalworking enterprises and laboratories in particular with gases and gas mixtures. A large number of meat-processing companies that require large quantities of nitrogen for production and storage are located in Lower Saxony and both air separation plants will also produce medical oxygen. The production of medical gas will be monitored by pharmacists.

In 2008 Messer Industriegase expects to record sales of €6.5m, with annual sales of more than €50m aimed for by 2012.