FRANKFURT, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Spanish builder FCC's Alpine unit will launch the sale of its energy equipment maker Alpine Energie next month in a bid to cut debt, two people familiar with the deal said.
"Information memorandums will go out to potential bidders in February," one of the sources said, adding the company expected strong demand from private equity investors.
"A lot of unsolicited expressions of interest from private equity has come in already," the source said, adding tentative bids are expected around the end of the first or the beginning of the second quarter.
Erste Bank and Unicredit -- which are among Alpine's main lenders -- have been mandated to organise the auction of Alpine Energie, the sources added.
Alpine, FCC's Austrian-based subsidiary, declined to comment.
In October, Alpine had announced it was considering the sale of its units Alpine Energie, GPS Underground Engineering and Hazet Bau after issuing a profit warning.
Alpine, like many European builders, is struggling as government austerity programmes put construction plans on hold.
Alpine Energie in 2011 posted a turnover of 485 million euros and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of 22 million euros. It employs around 2,500 staff.
Alpine is hoping to cash in several hundred million euros for the unit, which makes everything from power grids and renewable power plants to communication and transportation networks, one of the sources said.
In 2010, peer EVT was sold by Alpiq to French construction group Vinci for a price of 6.5 times EBITDA. (Reporting by Arno Schuetze)