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Buyout funds vying to buy 40 pct of vehicle glass repairer Belron, say sources: Reuters

Belgian group D‘Ieteren is in the advanced stages of selling around 40 percent of Belron, its vehicle windscreen repair business, seeking a valuation of 3 billion euros ($3.5 billion) or more, including debt, sources familiar with the situation said.

D’Ieteren owns 94.85 percent of Belron, which operates in 33 countries under various brands including Carglass, Safelite AutoGlass, Autoglass, Lebeau and O‘Brien. Chief Executive Gary Lubner owns the remaining 5.15 percent.

The parent company appointed JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs to find a minority partner for Belron in May and the sources said private equity investors CVC, CD&R and KKR have since moved to the next stage of the sale process, with final bids expected in the second week of October.

The valuation was based on a multiple of 10 times earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation, sources said.

However, while the size of the business might attract a wide variety of private equity firms flush with funds in need of a home, the fact that it is a minority stake may deter some prospective buyers.

“They will try to find a way to be an equal partner. These guys don’t normally do minority deals,” said one of the sources.

D‘Ieteren, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, KKR and CVC declined to comment. The other buyout firm did not respond to requests for comment.

The vehicle glass repair and replacement market in developed economies has been declining as people drive less, at lower speeds on better road surfaces.

D‘Ieteren has said it expects this trend to continue and is extending Belron’s services into vehicle and home repairs.
In 2016 Belron had an adjusted operating profit of 190.7 million euros on turnover of 3.3 billion euros.

In addition to Belron and its core vehicle distribution business in Belgium, D‘Ieteren owns Italian notebook company Moleskine, having completed its takeover at the beginning of this year.

The D‘Ieteren family controls more than half of the parent company, which is listed on the Brussels Stock Exchange and announced a buy-back of its shares earlier in September.

The shares are down 13 percent this year, at 36.71 euros, valuing the entire company at 2 billion euros.