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UPDATE 1-Freudenberg eyes Vibracoustic IPO decision by year end
April 5, 2017 / 12:12 PM / 8 months ago

UPDATE 1-Freudenberg eyes Vibracoustic IPO decision by year end

* Freudenberg would keep just over 50 pct of Vibracoustic

* Could use proceeds of an IPO for acquisitions

* Could make acquisitions worth 3-4 bln euros after IPO (Adds details on future holding in Vibracoustic, use of proceeds)

By Ilona Wissenbach

WEINHEIM, Germany, April 5 (Reuters) - Germany’s Freudenberg may revive plans to float its automotive vibration control technology unit Vibracoustic on the stock exchange, its chief executive said on Wednesday.

“We will make a decision on a flotation by the end of the year,” Mohsen Sohi told journalists at a news conference.

He added automotive supplier Freudenberg would remain an anchor investor with just over 50 percent in Vibracoustic after a possible initial public offering (IPO).

Privately-held Freudenberg last year bought the 50 percent in Vibracoustic it did not yet own from joint venture partner Trelleborg in a deal valuing the unit at 1.8 billion euros ($1.9 billion), including debt.

Freudenberg and Trelleborg had at one point started preparations for an IPO of Vibracoustic but then put them on ice due to market volatility.

Bankers expect Freudenberg to retain Lazard as IPO adviser and Deutsche Bank as global coordinator if it goes ahead with a flotation.

CEO Sohi said on Wednesday the German firm could use proceeds of the IPO for acquisitions.

The group could currently fund purchases worth 2-3 billion euros, which would rise to 3-4 billion after a flotation of Vibracoustic, he said.

He did not say in which sector Freudenberg could look to expand. The group generates around half of its annual revenues of 8.6 billion euros from automotive supplies, while the rest comes from products ranging from filters for gas turbines to industrial lubricants and Vileda-branded mops.

$1 = 0.9368 euros Additional reporting by Arno Schuetze; Writing by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Edward Taylor and Mark Potter

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