Dr. Uwe Bechtolf: “A robust, mature company”
"The Messer Group was reborn in May 2004. The company was still a little unsteady on its feet as it started out on its new economic life with around 3,800 employees in Europe, China, Peru and Vietnam and a business volume amounting to 521 million euros. It was necessary to re-learn how to prevail in the market with a company that was not even a third the size of the former Messer Griesheim Group.
In many European countries, the company no longer had an independent product supply as in the past, and there was great uncertainty regarding how activities in a country that was still relatively uncharted such as China would pan out. The Messer Group has gone through a number of global economic cycles during its short economic life, from upswing (2005-2007) to down-swing (2008-2009) with the lasting consequences of the banking and financial crises, and is now entering a phase of global economic slowdown that may even mark the end of a period of growth that it was assumed would go on forever.
The Messer Group has emerged from these first 10 "juvenile" years with around 5,400 employees in Europe, China, Peru and Vietnam and a turnover that has more than doubled to well over 1 billion euros. The tangible assets, which are of particular importance in our industry, have likewise doubled to over 1 billion euros thereby significantly strengthening our operational independence, amongst other things. The Messer Group has invested almost 2 billion euros over the years, but has done so without neglecting its financial health.
This year's Annual Report shows the Messer Group with an equity ratio of over 58 per cent and net debts that do not even amount to double the annual EBITDA. In short – a robust, mature company!"