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Astorg puts French aluminates firm Kerneos up for sale, say sources: Reuters

Private equity firm Astorg has put French calcium aluminates company Kerneos up for sale in a move which could value the firm at around 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion), three sources familiar with the matter said on Friday.

Investment bank Lazard (LAZ.N) has been appointed to work on the sale.

The Paris-based company, bought by Astorg in 2013, makes calcium aluminate cements, used in specialized concretes and mortars and in refractory linings in furnaces, amongst other applications.

Buyout houses Advent, Cinven [CINV.UL] and Triton are among the interested parties, the people said. The auction is already underway and a deal could be announced in the coming weeks, one of them said, cautioning that no sale was certain.

Astorg and Triton did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Lazard, Advent and Cinven declined to comment.

Kerneos’s annual earnings before interest, depreciation and amortization amount to around 100 million euros and the sale could fetch about 10 times that figure, one of the sources said.

Peer Almatis, which was sold last year by Dubai International Capital to Turkish pension fund Oyak, attained a similar multiple, the source added.

Astorg paid 8.4 times core earnings for Kerneos when it was sold out of building materials business Materis in 2013 for 610 million euros.

Since Kerneos’s beginnings as a joint venture between Lone Star Industries and Lafarge Coppée in 1970 it has expanded to become an international company employing 1,200 people with 10 production sites in various countries around the world.