March 12, 2015 / 5:27 PM / 2 years ago

Thyssen's VDM attracts interest from Aperam, PE: sources

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp (TKAG.DE) has attracted interest from peer Aperam APAM.LUISPA.AS as well as buyout groups Gores Group and Lindsay Goldberg for its high-performance alloy unit VDM, as it renews efforts to draw a line under an ill-fated venture, sources said.

The parties are expected to hand in bids for the unit by early next week, two people familiar with the matter said on Thursday, although there is no structured sales process and a months-long market test may continue.

ThyssenKrupp and Lindsay Goldberg declined to comment, as did Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE), which is managing the sale. The Gores Group and Aperam did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Private equity group Gores is working with former steel executive Benedikt Niemeyer, three sources familiar with the matter said.

Investor Lindsay Goldberg, founded by former Thyssen executive Dieter Vogel, remains in the running, one of the people said.

ThyssenKrupp was forced to buy back VDM and stainless steel unit AST from Outokumpu (OUT1V.HE) last year after selling it to the Finnish steelmaker as part of a bigger deal. VDM and AST together have a book value of over 900 million euros.

The two units are currently making operating losses as they are being restructured but ThyssenKrupp estimates VDM can in the medium term regain its historical core earnings level of 80-100 million euros annually.

Additional reporting by Georgina Prodhan in Frankfurt and Robert-Jan Bartunek in Brussels; Editing by Ruth Pitchford

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