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By Arno Schuetze
FRANKFURT, Nov 13 (Reuters) - Korean petroleum products maker SK Innovation and several buyout groups have been short-listed in an auction for Evonik’s methacrylates plastics unit, which makes clear acrylic sheets, people close to the matter said.
Private equity firms Advent, Apollo, SK Capital and a consortium of Triton and Rhone have made it to the second round of bidding for the company, which is expected to be valued at 2 to 2.5 billion euros ($2.25-2.81 billion), including debt, they added.
Chinese chemicals company Shenghong is also among the final suitors, one the people said, adding that others such as Ineos were no longer in the running.
Evonik, SK Innovation, Advent and Triton declined to comment, while the other suitors were not immediately available for comment.
The company is selling the business as it looks to focus on faster-growing sectors, such as feed additives and rubber silica for tyres.
The business up for sale posted 2017 earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of less than 400 million euros on 1.8 billion euros of sales from clear acrylic sheets and methacrylate chemicals.
The company expects its earnings to decrease next year due to a cyclical swing, and potential buyers have been trying to make up their minds on average long-term profit levels.
Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) is used in the construction, automotive and electronics industries and known by brand names such as Plexiglas.
$1 = 0.8902 euros Additional reporting by Jane Chung and Matthias Inverardi; Editing by Maria Sheahan