Nordic Capital wins in battle for Munters

Alfa Laval refused to raise its bid for Swedish climate control company Munters, thus leaving Nordic Capital, the other private equity firm in the bidding war, with victory. Nordic Capital had made an offer of 77 crowns per share, a total value of 5.7 billion crowns ($859 million), while Alfa Laval’s offer was 75 crowns. Munters shares fell 2.5 percent after the announcement.

(Reuters) – Swedish engineering group Alfa Laval said on Thursday it would not raise its offer for climate control company Munters , leaving private equity firm Nordic Capital the winner of a bidding battle.

Nordic Capital had raised its offer price to a recommended 77 crowns per share on Wednesday, valuing Munters at 5.7 billion crowns ($859 million), and topping Alfa Laval’s 75 crown bid.

Alfa Laval shares were unchanged at 119.70 crowns while Munters stock, which had been buoyed by hopes of another Alfa offer, dipped 2.5 percent to 76.75 crowns.

Alfa Laval said it was leaving its offer for Munters unchanged at 75 crowns per share and conditional on winning acceptances for more than 90 percent of shares.

“Alfa Laval will not complete the offer at a lower level of acceptance,” it said, effectively throwing in the towel.

The fight to win ownership of Munters started on Sept. 6, when Alfa Laval offered 68 crowns as it aimed to add climate control technology to its product range.

Nordic Capital entered the fray on Sept. 29 through a bid vehicle called Cidron, saying it was attracted by Munters as a high-growth quality company with strong competitive positions.

It offered 73 crowns, a level Alfa Laval trumped on Oct. 1 with a recommended bid at 75 crowns.

The Munters board, which had previously supported the Alfa Laval offer, on Thursday supported the new bid.

Nordic Capital’s bid for Munters has come amid renewed interest by private equity firms for industrial companies.

A survey on Wednesday showed such interest has come due to low price tags for a sector to which private equity firms gave a wide berth during the financial crisis.

Cidron said its offer was a 47 percent premium to Munters’ share price on Sept. 3, the business day before Alfa Laval launched its offer. (Editing by Hans Peters)