June 27, 2018 / 3:34 PM / 24 days ago

Bain Capital wins auction for Italian chemicals firm Italmatch: sources

MILAN/LONDON (Reuters) - Bain Capital has won an auction to buy Italian chemicals maker Italmatch, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters, trumping rival bids from KKR and Cinven.

The private equity firm will pay around 700 million euros ($811 million) to take control of the Genoa-based company, two of the sources said.

Italmatch has been controlled by French investor Ardian since 2014.

The company, founded in 1997 through a management buyout of phosphorus derivatives maker Saffa, has expanded its global footprint in recent years through a series of acquisitions.

Ardian started sounding out potential bidders earlier this year to take advantage of high sector valuations.

It hired Goldman Sachs and BNP Paribas to kick off an auction process in the second quarter which mainly drew interest from private equity investors, including KKR, Bain and Cinven.

The three buyout funds made it to the final stages of the auction and submitted their final offers earlier this month.

The sources said Bain Capital’s offer prevailed, with one adding it valued the firm at slightly more than 700 million euros.

Italmatch expects to report core earnings of more than 70 million euros this year from 65 million euros last year, sources previously told Reuters.

The increase comes after the company secured control of Afton Chemical’s metalworking fluid business in April.

Italmatch, led by Chief Executive Sergio Iorio, has been working to integrate a series of acquisitions.

In 2016 it bought North American phosphonate and biocides maker Compass Chemicals, while in 2015 it took control of Solvay’s (SOLB.BR) water additives business.

Bain and Ardian declined to comment.

Additional reporting by Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle and Mark Potter

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