100 per cent Messer
The return of the family firm.
Established by Adolf Messer in 1898 as a family firm, in 1965 Adolf Messer & Co. GmbH was merged by the founder’s son Hans Messer with parts of Knapsack-Griesheim AG to form Messer Griesheim GmbH.
Although Hoechst AG retained two-thirds of the shares, the family’s influence over corporate policy was preserved. The retirement of Hans Messer from active management, an altered group policy on the part of the majority shareholder, and a failed strategy of globalisation brought the firm in the 1990s to the verge of collapse.
However, the determination of Stefan Messer, a grandson of the founder and son of Hans Messer, to assert the family’s position in operational affairs, together with a sound policy of reorganisation and debt disencumbrance, implemented with the aid of financial investors, culminated in the ›renaissance of the family‹. In May 2004 the old Messer Griesheim GmbH once again, as Messer Group GmbH and Messer Eutectic Castolin Holding GmbH, became an owner-managed industrial enterprise.
Jörg Lesczenski tells informatively and concisely the unusual tale of a family business that once seemed lost – yet in the end could be successfully relaunched.