Cryostar – a clean lead


The Airco legacy
Cryostar is located in France in the small town of Hesingue near Basel, close to the Swiss and German borders.

Created in 1966, Cryostar was a 50:50 joint venture between the US industrial gas company Airco Inc and Burckhardt, a Swiss compressor manufacturer. Shortly afterwards Sulzer, which acquired Burckhardt, exited the business, leaving Airco with sole ownership.

In 1966 Cryostar was a cryogenic pump manufacturer, and a part of the Airco Cryogenics division. “Around the early 70’s, Airco Cryogenics was already manufacturing turbo expanders for air separation and compressors for LNG ships,” says Meyer. “It was more or less a natural move for Cryostar here in Europe to do exactly what Airco Cryogenics was doing, but for the European market. We moved from being a pure pump manufacturer to being a pump, plus compressor, plus turbine manufacturer because it was a natural move.”
In 1978 Airco was taken over by BOC, and Cryostar was integrated into the BOC group.

“The same happened last year when BOC was taken over by Linde – Cryostar was never sold or transferred as a stand alone deal,” Meyer adds. In 1983, Airco BOC decided to sell Airco Cryogenics, which was in decline – although it retained the Cryostar business, which was doing well. Airco Cryogenics Division was taken over by Cryogenic Industries, who kept the abbreviation ACD, effectively creating a direct Cryostar competitor. Under the terms of the deal, Cryostar was prohibited from selling in ACD territories (the US and SE Asia). “The new owners of ACD wanted Cryostar out of their territory – what could we do? We were not in these markets when the deal was made.”

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