Mirion Tech, After Pulling Loan, Goes On The Block

Mirion Technologies, which is backed by American Capital, is up for sale.

San Ramon, Calif.-based Mirion had been in the market for a $230 million loan to refinance its debt. Yesterday, Mirion shelved the refinancing in favor of a sale, according to my compadres at Thomson Reuters Loan Pricing Corp.

News of Mirion’s sale comes as the company is still pursuing plans to go public. The provider of radiation detection, measurement and analysis postponed its IPO in May. The company had planned to raise $176 million in the offering.

Mirion has amended the S-1 filing since then and is still considering an IPO, a source says. The company is looking at all its options, including a sale, the person says. Credit Suisse, BofA Merrill Lynch and JP Morgan are joint bookrunners on the offering. Mirion said losses widened to $6.3 million for the three months ended Sept. 30. Adjusted EBITDA was $1.8 million, according to a November 22 regulatory filing.

The Mirion IPO is not on the calendar and no date has been set for the offering, an underwriting source says.

It’s very common for companies to run a bifurcated process, says a banker. One track would focus on M&A while the other would pursue an S-1 filing, the source says. “They’ll pit the two processes against each other,” the banker says.

Mirion would be of interest to large engineering services firms like AECOM or Jacobs. Also, PE firms with a defense focus, such as the Carlyle Group, would likely be interested in Mirion, the banker says.

In 2005, American Capital combined three portfolio company — Global Dosimetry Solutions, Imaging and Sensing Technology Corp. and Synodys SA –to form Mirion. American Capital originally provided $244 million in financing as part of the transaction, according to the PE firm’s web site.

Paul Weisbrich, a senior MD with McLadrey Capital Markets, says there is a lot of interest in companies with nuclear expertise. Nuclear power skills were plentiful in the 1980s and atrophied in the 1990s, he says. “Now we are going into 2011 and there is an abundance of buyers but a shortage of supply in nuclear power generation and control.”

Calls to American Capital and Mirion were not returned.