In the latest instalment of gasworld’s A Christmas Twist: The 12 Days of Content series, Stefan Messer, CEO, and his son Marcel Messer together share three highlights from the year, as well as plans for 2021 and beyond.
gasworld (GW): What has Messer been up to this year? Perhaps you could tell us about three highlights…
Stefan Messer (SM): Just highlighting three European projects: We signed an agreement on a majority stake in Hans Müller HMP Medizintechnik GmbH. With this merger of two family-run companies, we will expand our home care business and immediately begin servicing the German market. Up until now, we are operating in the home care sector in Austria, Belgium, France, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania.
In October 2020, we started up our third air separation unit in Germany on the grounds of insulation manufacturer SAINT-GOBAIN ISOVER G+H AG.
We have successfully completed the acquisition of parts of Air Liquide in Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
GW: Any plans for 2021 you can share with us?
SM and Marcel Messer (MM): 2021 will be an important year for us regarding the future of our JV Messer Industries.
GW: Messer and Messer Americas have ensured a safe and reliable supply of life-saving medical gases throughout the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Could you tell us about some of the company’s efforts during the pandemic?
SM: Since the Covid-19 pandemic, field hospitals have been erected in many large cities all over the world in order to care for large numbers of patients in an emergency. Messer assured the supply of medical oxygen to these facilities in many cities of many countries.
And, we have teamed up with Heraeus Noblelight to develop a mobile UV-C disinfection system with a hand-held device for the disinfection of surfaces and shapes of all types. All throughout Europe, we rely on the mobile UV-C disinfection system to disinfect its gas cylinders for medical oxygen when hospitals or patients return them for refilling.
GW: Where do you see the biggest opportunity for Messer in the next five years?
MM: The growing importance of e-commerce and the pandemic situation have enhanced the e-grocery shopping with consumers increasingly requesting home food deliveries. Messer and Olivo are supporting this trend with the combination of Messer’s SnowDrop station and Olivo’s MiniCryo boxes for the reliable transport of chilled and frozen products.
Designed to meet the needs of our customers, the SnowDrop station is able to produce CO2 snow on demand and to fill the MiniCryo lids by means of manual operation or an automated process. We expect the e-grocery trend to continue.
And, as said before, we expect growth in the medical sector when it comes to deliveries of medical oxygen, to support all the operations which have been postponed in 2020 and of course the support of vaccine delivery with dry ice.
Messer is committed to playing its part in achieving the decarbonisation of our economy. This is our responsibility as an energy-intensive company, but it is also a business opportunity since new low- or zero-carbon industrial processes will increase demand for our industrial gases and our expertise.
Clean hydrogen, for example will be a major growing market in coming years. Messer already operates hydrogen filling stations for some of the world’s largest fleets of hydrogen buses, forklifts and other material handling vehicles.
In Europe, the Americas and in Asia there will be many more opportunities over the next few years for Messer to grow by helping industrial customers to decarbonize their operations.
GW: Finally, in the spirit of the time of year and theme of the series, if you could have one industrial gases related thing for Christmas, what would it be and why?
SM: Messer is aware of its responsibility to be a system-relevant component of the economic cycle. We are fulfilling this responsibility: As a strong community, we continue to navigate this crisis. We will also continue to master this challenge very well in coming months, which will no doubt be very difficult. We will try to do everything to keep Messer a safe place and to remain a reliable and good employer and partner at all times.
A Christmas Twist: The 12 Days of Content series continues tomorrow with an exclusive interview with Pulsa.