Permira Puts Portfolio Company Sale on Hold

(Reuters) – Buyout firm Permira will hold off on a sale of its stake in German specialty chemicals company Cognis until the economic crisis passes, the head of Permira’s German operations was quoted saying in a newspaper published on Friday.

An initial public offering for Cognis, a former division of glues and detergents maker Henkel, would be one of the exit options, Permira executive Joerg Rockenhaeuser told German daily Rheinische Post.

“We now have to steer Cognis successfully through the economic crisis. After that is the time to plan an exit at Cognis,” Rockenhaeuser was quoted as saying.

Permira, together with co-owners Goldman Sachs Capital Partners (GS.N) and SV Life Sciences, abandoned plans to sell Cognis in 2006.

Cognis finance chief Klaus Edelmann said in August a change in ownership was all but certain but it was unclear when Cognis’ investors would sell.

Cognis, which hived off its plant oil and textile chemicals businesses last year to focus on ingredients for cosmetics and detergents, has said it expected an operating profit of 350 million euros ($457.8 million) for 2008, down 2.5 percent year-on-year. (Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by David Holmes)