TOKYO, July 11 (Reuters) - Japan’s Hitachi Ltd has started the formal process for the sale of its $5.6 billion chemical unit with initial bids due on Aug. 9, people familiar with the matter said, a deal expected to draw interest from global private equity firms.
Hitachi has formally asked potential bidders to submit first-round bids for Hitachi Chemical Co, four people said, declining to be identified because the information is not public. The initial round will close on Aug. 9, two of them said.
Hitachi has hired Bank of America Corp while Hitachi Chemical has retained Goldman Sachs Group Inc to advise on the deal, the two people said.
Reuters reported in May that global private equity firms Bain Capital, Carlyle Group and KKR & Co are among the bidders for the unit, of which Hitachi owns 51.2 percent.
Japanese companies are also expected to submit initial bids along with the three private equity firms, the two people said.
A Hitachi spokesman declined to comment. A spokeswoman for Hitachi Chemical said the company has not made any annoucement on the issue. ($1 = 108.8900 yen) (Reporting by Junko Fujita and Taro Fuse; Editing by David Dolan)