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Messer - Geschäftsbericht 2008

Organization of the Messer Group

Messer Group GmbH (“the Company“), which has its registered office in Sulzbach, near Frankfurt am Main, acts as the management holding company of the Messer Group (the “Messer Group” or “the Group”). Products, services and technologies are sold under the proprietary names of 'Messer' and 'ASCO'.

The Messer Group has its own operating facilities in each of the main European markets (with the exception of Great Britain and Scandinavia) as well as in China, New Zealand, Vietnam, Algeria and Peru. Over the past year, the Messer Group has been able to strengthen its presence in Europe, Turkey, China and Vietnam by constructing 13 air separation plants – in some cases already completed – and also to expand it by acquiring ASCO Carbon Dioxide Ltd., New Zealand.

In Germany, teams of experts are in place for the various gas technologies. One highly specialized center of expertise handles applications in areas such as cold grinding, recycling and cryogenics and another is responsible for developments in the area of welding and cutting. The Group’s center of expertise for application processes used in the manufacturing, metallurgy, heat treatment and burner engineering sectors is located in Austria. The center of expertise in France specializes in processes used in the food-processing, pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors.

The Group Management Report contains a review of operations during the financial year 2008 and the outlook for the coming years. The comments made are subject to the proviso that the impact of the financial crisis on the real economy cannot, at present, be predicted with any degree of certainty. Using past experience as a guide, we are working on the basis that the global economic downturn will not have any permanent adverse impact on the earnings and cash flows of the Messer Group due to the fact that we are not dependent on any single customers or markets. We also generate a part of our sales in countries whose economies continue to performing well in spite of the financial crisis, albeit less strongly than in previous years (China for instance). Our business is also characterized by the fact that long-term supply contracts are in place with many customers. At the same time, we have also initiated and implemented programs to reduce costs and capital expenditure in order to counter the potential impact of the financial and economic crisis. There are, however, no plans to cutback the workforce.


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