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EXCLUSIVE-Capvis in 1 bln euro German divestment plan- sources
March 1, 2012 / 11:42 AM / in 6 years

EXCLUSIVE-Capvis in 1 bln euro German divestment plan- sources

FRANKFURT, Mar 1 (Reuters) - Swiss buyout group Capvis is speeding up preparations for an exit from German table and kitchenware supplier WMF WMFG.F and industrial safety tools provider Bartec, several people close to the process said.

WMF and Bartec could be sold at an enterprise value of 500-600 million euros ($669-803 million) each, they said.

Capvis is in the process of mandating an investment bank for the sale of its 52 percent stake in WMF, a household name in high-end cutlery and cooking pots in Germany, which could start soon after, two of the people said.

It bought the stake for 92 million euros in 2006. Eleven percent of WMF’s shares are traded at the Frankfurt stock exchange and give the group’s market capitalization stood at 486 million euros on Thursday.

In the past, WMF peer Fackelmann and investor Benko -- who has shown interest in buying retailer Kaufhof MEOG.DE as well

-- have looked at WMF, another person said. -- have looked at WMF, another person said.

“For any buyer it will be key to align interests with Austrian investor Fiba, who holds 37 percent of WMF”, the person said, adding an option may also be a share placement.

WMF expects to post sales of more than 1 billion euros this year after 980 million last year. In the first nine months of 2011, WMF posted sales of 671 million and saw its operating income (EBIT) rise by 85 percent to 43 million euros.

Its other peers include Villeroy & Boch (VIBG_p.DE), Itala, Pott and Robbe & Berking.

BARTEC

Separately, Capvis has mandated Commerzbank (CBKG.DE) and William Blair to organize the sale of industrial safety technology provider Bartec, which is set to start in the second quarter, three of the people said.

The group may be a strategic fit for competitors like Cooper Industries CBE.N, Hubbell HUBb.N, Ametek (AME.N) or Thomas & Betts TNB.N.

Process automation suppliers like Siemens (SIEGn.DE), ABB ABBN.VX, General Electric (GE.N), Omron 6645.OS or Yokogawa (6841.T) are also likely to take a look at Bartec, as are private equity companies.

Capvis Partner Daniel Flaig said: “It is conceivable that we will start the sale of Bartec in coming months.” However, he added that Capvis is under no pressure to sell Bartec quickly as it only bought it in 2008.

Bartec posted sales of roughly 300 million last year and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization

(EBITDA) of just over 50 million, according to a person close to the company.

The group expects its EBITDA to rise to about 60 million euros this year, the person said. Its peers trade at 9-10 times 2012 expected EBITDA, making a purchase price of Bartec of about 540-600 million euros realistic.

All companies declined to comment.

($1 = 0.7476 euros)

(Reporting By Arno Schuetze, Victoria Howley, Philipp Halstrick and Alexander Huebner)

((arno.schuetze@thomsonreuters.com)(+49.69.7565.1197)(Reuters Messaging: arno.schuetze.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: CAPVIS/DIVESTMENTS

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