The New Messer Group, one year on and going strong


This month marks the first anniversary of the restructuring of the Messer Group in which, following divestments, the company returned to full family control. The company, originating in Germany over hundred years ago, has gone through many changes in the past 5 years and gasworld interviewed its CEO Stefan Messer to understand the trials and tribulations of all the changes.


The company was first formed in 1898 by Adolf Messer (Stefan’s grandfather) and was named the Frankfurter Acetylen-Gas-Gesellschaft Messer & Cie in Höchst. It was later renamed in 1945 to Adolf Messer GmbH after consolidating three business areas which included cutting & welding, cryogenic plant and tank manufacturing and production of industrial gases. In 1965, after a merger with part of Knapsack-Griesheim AG, a member of the Hoechst Group, it became Messer Griesheim GmbH. The company expanded throughout Europe and the US and celebrated its centenary in 1998. However in 2001, Hoechst AG (now Aventis) confirmed its divestment from the company with the sale of its shares in Messer to Goldman Sachs (Private Equity Funds) and Allianz Capital partners. The new Board set about re-structuring and divesting some of Messer’s global interests acquired in the mid to late 1990s and improving the profitability of the company.

In late 2003, both Goldman Sachs and ACP decided to exit the business, which lead to almost two-thirds of the company being sold off. On the 20th January 2004, Air Liquide announced that they would buy Messer’s industrial gas operations in the UK, US and Germany. Simultaneously, the Messer family, through their holding company Messer Industrie GmbH (MIG), announced that they would acquire the remaining shares in the old Messer Group. The transaction was completed in May 2004.

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