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Israel’s Netafim draws interest from private equity, Chinese bidders: Reuters

(Reuters) — International buyout groups and Chinese investment funds are expected to submit bids for Israeli irrigation firm Netafim, which could fetch around $1.5 billion, within the next few weeks, two banking sources said on Friday.

Tel Aviv-based Netafim said in March it had hired Goldman Sachs (GS.N) to handle a possible sale or public offering of the company.

Centerview and Bank of America (BAC.N) have also been appointed to advise on the deal.

Private equity funds CVC and Bain Capital and Chinese investment funds Fosun International and Primavera Capital were named by sources as possible bidders.

The firm, majority owned by London-based buyout group Permira, could still opt for a listing in New York if bids are perceived as too low, two of the sources said.

The company is hoping for a valuation of between 10 and 12 times its expected 2017 earning before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of around $120 million, one of the sources said.

Permira, Netafim, CVC and Bain Capital declined to comment.

Fosun International (0656.HK) and Primavera Capital were not immediately available to comment.

Lindsay Corporation (LNN.N), a U.S. provider of irrigation systems, may also show an interest, one of the sources said. However, given that Netafim is larger than Lindsay it is seen as an unlikely buyer. The company was not immediately available for comment.

Netafim has 4,300 employees and owns 17 factories in 10 countries and provides irrigation products for agriculture, greenhouse and mining applications.