Allianz and Goldman take majority stake in Messer Griesheim

Allianz Capital Partners and Goldman Sachs are rumoured to have paid E700m for the acquisition and to have assumed Aventis's share of Messer's estimated E1.6bn debt.

Allianz Capital Partners, the private equity arm of Allianz AG, and Goldman Sachs have acquired a 66.6 per cent stake in Messer Griesheim, the industrial gases business.

German-French pharmaceutical company Aventis is selling its majority stake in the company in order to focus on the pharmaceutical industry. The proceeds of the sale will also go towards reducing Aventis’s total debt. The Messer family will retain its 33.3 per cent stake.

A company statement reports that both parties have agreed not to disclose financial details but the Financial Times speculates this morning that Allianz and Goldman paid E700m for the acquisition and have also assumed Aventis's share of Messer's estimated E1.6bn of debt.

The company will focus on gas and modern gas technology in Europe and the US. Stefan Sanne, managing director of Allianz Capital Partners, said: “As a financial investor, we will accompany Messer in its efforts to find new development opportunities and growth perspectives.”

Messer Griesheim was founded in 1898 and is headquartered in Frankfurt. The deal was sealed on 31 December 2000 and is expected to be closed in the first quarter of 2001.