Caterpillar-backed Neovia Logistics explores sale, say sources-Reuters

(Reuters) – Neovia Logistics LLC, a logistics services provider backed by industrial equipment conglomerate Caterpillar Inc, is exploring a sale that could value the company at more than $1 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.

Neovia has enlisted investment bank UBS AG to run an auction for the company and is preparing to contact potential buyers, the people said, asking not to be named because the matter is not public.

A sale of Neovia would come just two years after private equity firm Platinum Equity LLC acquired a 65 percent stake in the company from Caterpillar, leaving the industrial conglomerate with a 35 percent interest.

Platinum said at the time the overall transaction was worth about $750 million. Macquarie Group Ltd, which financed the deal, said on its website at the time that it represented the largest global logistics deal since 2008.

Representatives for Neovia, Platinum Equity, Caterpillar and UBS did not respond to requests for comment.

Neovia runs a third-party logistics business that helps companies cut their distribution costs in sectors ranging from automotive and mining to electronics and healthcare. The Downers Grove, Illinois-based company has more than 90 facilities in 25 countries, according to Platinum Equity’s website.

Platinum Equity has lost no time taking cash out of the company since taking it over in August 2012, adding $125 million to its debt pile in February 2013 to fund a dividend.

Moody’s Investors Service Inc said at the time it viewed the planned debt-funded dividend as “an aggressive shareholder return initiative that removes capital from the company that could otherwise be used for growth or protection against a potential business downturn.”