Buyout group CVC cuts stake in German chemicals group Evonik-Reuters

(Reuters) – Buyout firm CVC has sold a 3.9 percent stake in Evonik at 29.15 euros a share as it continues its gradual exit from the German chemicals group.

CVC took advantage of a 15 percent rise in Evonik’s share price over the last three months and reduced its stake to 14 percent with the placement.

“There will be further opportunistic placements by CVC in the longer term, but no specific time table has been set,” a person familiar with the matter said.

Evonik shares lost 4.15 percent to trade at 29.60 euros by 0854 GMT.

The investor initially held a 25 percent stake, but reduced its shareholdings in the runup to and as part of Evonik’s stock market listing in 2013.

The announcement of the placement on Wednesday evening came a day after the maker of feed additives, clear acrylic sheet and high-tech plastics said it was optimistic for 2015 after a fourth-quarter turnaround helped it meet its 2014 targets.

Following the placement, about 18 percent of Evonik’s shares are widely held, potentially making it more attractive to investors, which have in the past criticised the low free float and low trading volumes.

A German public-sector trust, the RAG foundation, holds a 67.9 stake in Evonik and has said in the past it would also reduce its stake, while seeking to balance its need to diversify investment risks with its desire to keep control of Evonik.

The trust’s main purpose is to finance the future cost of keeping Germany’s abandoned coal mines from caving in but since its board of trustees is dominated by federal and regional government officials as well as unions, RAG is also keen to secure Evonik’s more than 20,000 jobs in Germany.

JP Morgan and Bank of America organized the placement.