Messer, the specialist for industrial gases, reported consolidated revenue of €1.047bn and an operating profit (EBITDA) of €240m in the 2014 financial year. In spite of a challenging economic environment, revenue was 2% and operating profit 4% higher year-on-year.
“This positive overall development confirms our approach as a family-run business. Dealing responsibly with people, the environment and resources is our guiding principle and has always been the mainstay of our success as a business – even in challenging times,” notes Stefan Messer, owner and CEO of the Messer Group.
During the past year, the largest owner-managed specialist for industrial gases made investments – including IFRIC 4 investments – totaling €205.1m.
“Thanks to forward-looking investing, we can strengthen the trust of our customers and partners while offering our employees long-term security,” Messer Group CFO Dr. Hans-Gerd Wienands notes in comments on the result. Once again in the year completed, a large portion of the investments made were devoted to new construction and modernisation of the production facilities for the various industrial and medical gases. The focus of investment activities in Europe remained on sales investments and selective growth projects.
In Poland, construction was begun on the second air separation plant for the production of oxygen and nitrogen. With industrial gases as important to many manufacturing processes as water and electricity, Messer intends to assist the solid economic development under way in Poland with its products.
Messer is also building its second air separation plant in Serbia; this will meet the increased demand of an existing customer there. Already in early 2014, a liquefier for gas from the air was commissioned at the company’s location in Tarragona, Spain.
Additional investments have been made for a helium-filling operation in Serbia, the first filling plant for gases in cylinders in Romania, and extension of an existing filling plant in Germany. An investment was also made in Switzerland for the first plant to extract CO2 from industrial exhaust. Messer has multiple investment projects under way in China in order to participate in the expansion projects of its customers there, for the most part steelmakers, and market growth in that country. All in all, three air separation plants were commissioned in China in 2014 – in Sichuan, Chongqing and Guangdong Provinces. There are two more plants still under construction there – in Sichuan and Zhejiang Provinces.
“All of our investments serve to create new potential for growth. Moreover, investments there particularly serve to expand our business base in China, providing us an opportunity to enter into the CO2 business,” Dr. Hans-Gerd Wienands points out. In Vietnam, construction began on a third air separation plant in late 2014 on behalf of the on-site customer Hoa Phat.
On track for success, for the last ten years
Global expansion continues to progress and is securing the future viability of the Messer Group – and has been doing to with positive results for more than ten years. Messer became a wholly owned family business once more in 2004, and since then it has more than doubled annual revenue, from €521m in 2004 to €1.047bn in 2014. This solid trend is also reflected in the size of the workforce, which has grown by 44% since 2004 and now stands at 5,449 employees.
“We are a global team full of diversity and treat one another with respect and appreciation. As a family-run company, we live by the values that are close to our hearts: continuity, responsibility and sustainability. These three pillars have made a decisive contribution to the long-term success of the Messer Group,” Stefan Messer notes of the corporate philosophy.