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Carlyle taps banks for former DuPont unit IPO: Reuters

Buyout firm Carlyle Group LP has hired banks for an initial public offering of Axalta Coating Systems LLC, according to people familiar with the matter, just a year and a half after it acquired the company from Dupont for $4.9 billion.

Citigroup Inc and Goldman Sachs Group Inc have been given leading roles in the potential IPO of the performance coatings company, the people said on Wednesday. The IPO could raise as much as $1 billion, one of the people added.

The sources asked not to be identified because the discussions are private. Bloomberg News reported on Axalta’s IPO preparations earlier on Wednesday. Carlyle, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs declined to comment, while an Axalta spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Based in Philadelphia, Axalta makes liquid and powder coatings for the automotive and general transportation industries. It operates 35 manufacturing centers and does business in more than 130 countries, according to its website.

Private equity firms typically hold on to companies between three and five years before they sell them. Carlyle’s plans to take Axalta public in such a short time frame reflect the strength of the equity markets as well the private equity firm’s confidence in Axalta’s prospects as a public company.

These plans, however, may not necessarily lead to a quick exit for Carlyle. For example, it took the Washington, D.C.-based firm more than six years for it to sell its shares in Hertz Global Holdings Inc.

Carlyle took Hertz public in November 2006, just seven months after it acquired the company together with Clayton Dubilier & Rice LLC and Merrill Lynch Private Equity in a $15 billion deal.

Other private equity firms have also rushed to take some of their biggest portfolio companies public. Apollo Global Management LLC floated oil and gas producer EP Energy Corp in the stock market in January, just eight months after acquiring it from Kinder Morgan Inc for $7.15 billion.

(Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York; editing by Gunna Dickson)