Western Europe – Flagging up innovation


Recent figures produced by specialist consultancy, Spiritus Consulting, suggest that during 2006 Western European markets grew at around half the rate of their Eastern European counterparts. Western Europe gas revenues grew by a healthy nine percent in 2006 to around €12.3bn (US$15.4 bn).

The Linde Group, currently under going restructuring, following its BOC acquisition, recently reflected this pattern in its results. The gas division saw first quarter sales up 9.2 percent to €1.139bn (2006: €1.043bn). But the company says that most of the impetus continued to come from Eastern Europe. The company generates almost 60 percent of its revenues in Europe.

In Western Europe’s mature markets, many industries are moving to Central and Eastern Europe’s current lower cost base, so it’s not surprising that some focus in these established markets is shifting to innovations such as the development of hydrogen for transport and growth in healthcare applications. $quot;We expect a double-digit growth of the home care business, i.e. ventilation with medical oxygen, in Western Europe due to increased life expectancy,$quot; stated Adolf Walth, regional manager for the Messer Group in Western Europe. Other profitable operations include on-site and pipeline expansion opportunities in locations including Spain and other countries.

$quot;Thanks to the relatively stable market and a continuous flow of interesting projects, Western Europe is an important stability factor for The Linde Group,$quot; according to Dr. Aldo Belloni, member of the Executive Board of Linde AG. $quot;Moreover, many of our innovative products and solutions are designed and developed in Western Europe given the demand for innovative technological solutions here.$quot;

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