Evonik Could Sell Energy Unit Stake to PE Firm

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – German conglomerate Evonik is amenable to financial investors as it looks to sell a minority stake in its energy division, chief executive Klaus Engel said in a newspaper interview on Thursday.

“We are open to any attractive partner. Anyone with a good business concept and and sound finances is attractive,” the CEO told Boersen-Zeitung when asked whether he would talk to buyout firms.

He rejected media reports by ruling out selling a majority stake in the division which builds and operates power plants.

Evonik, owned by the state-controlled RAG foundation and buyout firm CVC [CVC.UL], said in December it planned to split off its real estate and energy units to focus on specialty chemicals which already account for about three quarters of total sales.

It has recently said it was still aiming for an initial public offering by 2013.

In the interview, Engel said Evonik was prepared to go public but financial market conditions stood in the way of an IPO.

The company would seek credit ratings after Easter (early April) and was aiming to obtain investment-grade ratings in the mid term, he said. (Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Dan Lalor)