Compared to the previous year, sales in western Europe increased by 9%. Most of this increase was once again the result of business activities in Germany, where sales grew by a good two thirds in comparison with the previous year.

This was due above all to the air separation plant at Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH in Salzgitter, which was commissioned in August 2010. Business activities in France and Switzerland also drove growth in the region.

Compared with the sales figures in the previous year, Central Europe recorded a decline in sales of almost 6%.

This can be attributed exclusively to the industrial gas activities in the Baltics and Ukraine which are no longer fully consolidated and which from 1st January 2011 were only consolidated as shares in associated companies according to the equity method.

On a comparable basis, the fully consolidated activities in Central Europe, by contrast, saw a growth in sales of a good 6%.

The strongest increase in sales compared to the previous year which the Messer Group recorded in Europe was in southeast Europe, which posted growth of 10%.

In contrast to 2010, a significant growth in sales was achieved by all the main companies in the region. Above all the business activities in Serbia, Macedonia and Turkey stood out, each returning growth rates compared to the previous year of around 17%.

In Turkey the air separation plant which began operating in June 2010 played a particularly important role.

The dynamic sales in China continued, with an increase of 28% compared to the previous year. Here all ten operative companies profited from the country’s continued strong economic growth.

The Messer companies recorded the strongest sales growth through on-site supply of steel works customers.

In Vietnam sales in 2011 once again increased sharply compared to the previous year, by more than 40%. The air separation plant in the north of Vietnam which was commissioned in October 2010 contributed greatly to this success.

This first air separation plant from Messer in Vietnam ensures the on-site supply of the steel works and at the same time guarantees independent product supply for Messer’s liquid gas market activities.

Business development in Peru was also extremely positive, and as a result of a positive development of the liquid and cylinder gas market sales were once again increased by a good 25% compared to the previous year.

For the financial year of 2012 the Messer group plans sales growth of about 8%.