The assets consist of five companies producing oxygen, nitrogen, argon, carbon dioxide and hydrogen. The deal also entails the takeover of the stakes of local firms Orascom Construction Industriesand AICin some of these companies.

Messer supplies industrial gases for a range of sectors, including steel, fertilisers, pharmaceuticals and soft drinks. Clients include Alexandria National Iron & Steel Company, Ezz Heavy Industriesand Abu Qir Fertilisers & Chemical Industries Company. It also supplies a recently started plant that produces sorbitol and glucose.

The value of the acquisition has not been disclosed. Air Liquide says it aims to deploy some 200 employees in Egypt to work on its various projects.