Montagu Narrows Field of Survitec Bidders

LONDON (Reuters) – Private equity firm Montagu has whittled down the field of bidders for survival equipment maker Survitec to a handful of potential trade and private buyers, sources familiar with the process said.

Between six and eight buyers have progressed to the second round of the auction, two sources said. Some buyers met with Survitec management this week, one of the sources said.

The sale follows Montagu’s successful disposal of sausage casings manufacturer Kalle for 212.5 million euros last month in a deal that prompted hopes that the leveraged-loans market is finally reopening for business.

Montagu is hoping the Belfast-based manufacturer of life-jackets and life-rafts can fetch about 300 million pounds, one of the sources said.

In July, Reuters LPC reported banks were lining up 150 million pounds in financing for a potential buyer.

Montagu, which also owns waste management firm Biffa [WSAQTB.UL] and electronics retailer Maplin [MPETN.UL], acquired Survitec for 146 million pounds in 2004 from Alchemy. (Editing by David Cowell)