PEP, Champ on Short List To Buy Loscam

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australian private equity firms Pacific Equity Partners and CHAMP are among firms advancing to the second round of bidding to buy pallet maker Loscam, three banking sources familiar with the process said.

Loscam owner Affinity Equity Partners is hoping to raise A$500 million to A$700 million ($460 million-$640 million) in the sale.

The sale had also attracted preliminary bids from other large private equity firms including KKR & Co [KKR.UL], Bain Capital and Warburg Pincus, the banking sources said, but it was not immediately clear whether of any those bidders have progressed. U.S. private equity giant Carlyle Group [CYL.UL], which put in a preliminary offer for Loscam, has decided not to proceed to the second round, another source told Reuters.

“They are no longer in the process,” said a source familiar with the situation, who declined to be named because the matter is confidential.

A spokesman for Affinity declined to comment.

PEP did not return calls seeking comment while CHAMP declined to comment for this story, but it is in the process of raising a third investment fund that is due to close in coming months. Credit Suisse (CSGN.VX) and Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE), which are advising Affinity Equity Partners, have put together a staple financing to back the sale of the business.

Affinity acquired the company in 2005 for about A$250 million from DB Capital Partners.

Loscam makes and hires out wooden and plastic pallets, and is a competitor to listed Brambles Ltd (BXB.AX), the world’s top pallet supplier. The company, based in Australia, has 11 offices throughout Asia, according to its web site.

By Sharon Klyne and Victoria Thieberger
(Additional reporting by Stephen Aldred; editing by Balazs Koranyi)