Messer buys out financial investor CVC

Messer buys out financial investor CVC

2023-05-30 15:49:14

Messer brings the sovereign wealth fund GIC from Singapore on board as a minority shareholder – and thus buys out the influential financial investor CVC. The gas company confirmed the corresponding FAZ information on Tuesday. On the one hand, Messer is selling a stake in GIC – according to reports, around a fifth for around 2 billion euros. On the other hand, CVC is giving its almost 50 percent stake in the central joint venture to Messer. Businesses in North America, South America and some Western European countries are bundled in this joint venture.

Messer entered into this alliance with CVC in 2018 when the opportunity arose to make an acquisition that would put the family company in a different league: Competitor Linde merged with Praxair at the time and had to sell important businesses for antitrust reasons. Messer, at the time under Stefan Messer as CEO, could not handle the acquisition financially on its own, so it brought CVC on board. The duo were awarded the majority of Linde’s gases business in North America and individual businesses in South America, and formed the joint venture Messer Industries GmbH – into which Messer brought in Western European companies.

control back

By its own account, Messer always wanted to regain control and confirmed this in April when Stefan Messer handed over the reins to his deputy Bernd Eulitz, a former Linde board member. “Messer’s declared goal is to fully integrate the joint venture into the Messer Group,” it said. The question was where the money should come from. As reported. the company negotiated with sovereign wealth funds, notably GIC.

With the construction that has now been negotiated, the joint venture is returning to the group – which means that its management body, over which the investor exerts influence, is no longer applicable. The price for this is. that GIC acts as a minority shareholder at the group level, albeit with a much smaller stake and correspondingly less say than CVC at the joint venture level.

Messer competes globally with the big three that are still left after the merger of Linde with Praxair from the old four-party oligopoly: In addition to the new Linde, which has been merged abroad, these are Air Liquide from France and Air Products from the USA. Before the Linde deal, Messer generated sales of a good 1.3 billion euros, which more than doubled afterwards. Last year the group, including the fully consolidated sales of Messer Industries GmbH, reported sales of 4.2 billion euros.

Messer is thus taking two big steps in the year of its 125th anniversary: ​​First, Stefan Messer from the owning family handed over the management to a non-family manager after almost twenty years, now the company is regaining extensive control. Founded in 1898, the company was majority owned by the Hoechst Group in the 1960s. After it was broken up, the majority went to an investor duo; one third remained with the Messer family. When the investors got out again, it was only financially enough to buy back parts of the business. The most important transactions went to the then world market leader Air Liquide.

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