Astorg in Exclusive Talks for FCI Unit

French buyout shop Astorg Partners is in exclusive talks to buy the microconnections division of French electrical connectors maker FCI from Bain Capital. The $1 billion deal is backed by 355 million euros ($498.3 million) of debt, Reuters reported Thursday. Goldman Sachs, Nomura and Royal Bank of Canada have been instructed as bookrunners and mandated lead arrangers, Reuters wrote.

(Reuters) – French private equity firm Astorg Partners is in exclusive talks on the $1 billion purchase of a unit of French electrical connectors maker FCI from Bain Capital, backed by 355 million euros ($498.3 million) of debt, sources close to the deal said.

Astorg is in negotiations with Bain over the sale of the microconnections division of FCI, which makes micro circuits used in devices such as smartcards, having considered final offers from a number of interested parties, the sources added.

A bank meeting has been set for Sept. 15 in London when the 355 million euro all-senior financing will be launched for general syndication.

Goldman Sachs, Nomura and Royal Bank of Canada have been instructed as bookrunners and mandated lead arrangers.

Debt includes a 35 million euro, six-year revolving credit facility, a $100 million, six-year term loan A and a 220 million euro, seven-year term loan B.

Total leverage is 4.2 times debt to EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation).

Axa Private Equity, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co , Asian-based Unitas, a trade buyer and Russian specialist investment manager Pamplona Capital Management had all expressed an interest in acquiring the microconnections division of FCI.

Goldman and Citigroup are running the sale.

FCI’s microconnections division makes around two thirds of its 200 million euros annual revenue from Asia, according to the group’s website.

Bain Capital bought the FCI business from state-owned French nuclear reactor maker Areva in 2005 for more than 1 billion euros, including 800 million euros of debt, according to Thomson Reuters LPC data. ($1 = 0.712 Euros) (Reporting by Claire Ruckin)