May 4, 2018 / 3:34 PM / 21 days ago

OC Oerlikon prepares IPO for drives division - sources

ZURICH/FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Swiss technology group OC Oerlikon (OERL.S) is preparing to list its drive systems business by the middle of the year, aiming to raise cash for other parts of its business, people close to the matter told Reuters.

The company is working with UBS as global coordinator of the listing and other banks including Zuercher Kantonalbank, Vontobel and Kepler Cheuvreux, one of the people said.

All four banks declined to comment.

“We are evaluating all options for the drive systems segment,” a spokesman for Oerlikon said.

Hoping to benefit from receptive equities markets, Oerlikon plans to announce the flotation in the next few weeks.

Oerlikon plans to sell the entire business, which may be valued at 600-800 million Swiss francs (443 million to 591 million pounds), one of the people said.

Separately, Oerlikon is continuing talks with potential buyers of the unit, after attracting interest from peer Danaher (DHR.N), as well as buyout groups such as 3i, Bain, Advent and CD&R.

The potential bidders declined to comment or were not immediately available to comment.

    The drives unit makes gears and transmission systems for products ranging from agricultural machinery to construction equipment.

    It is Oerlikon’s second-biggest division after surface solutions and includes its Italian Graziano unit that makes components for sports cars including Lamborghini, Maserati, Ferrari, Aston Martin and McLaren, as well as tractors.

    Oerlikon’s U.S.-based Fairfield Manufacturing unit, with operations in India and China, makes gears and custom drives for construction and mining equipment, as well for oil and gas production.

    But the business’s operating margins have long lagged Oerlikon’s growing surface solutions business, which it sees as the future of the company. Analysts have therefore suggested the drives division as a candidate for disposal.

    The drives business is picking up after a tough patch. Its sales in the first three months of 2018 rose 23 percent to 209 million francs.

    Its EBITDA margin of 12.4 percent is lower than the 19.1 percent margin of the surface technology business.

    (This version of the story changes incorrect word “operations” to “options” in the fourth paragraph)

    Reporting by Oliver Hirt and Arno Schuetze, editing by John Revill

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