Private equity groups line up bids for Xella, say sources: Reuters

A number of buyout groups are expected to hand in tentative offers for building materials maker Xella by a Monday deadline in a potential 2 billion euro ($2.2 billion) deal, as its private equity owners try to benefit from high company valuations, according to several people close to the deal.

Bids by Bain, Apollo, Blackstone (BX.N), Lone Star, Triton and Cinven will likely value the company at 6 to 7 times Xella’s expected annual core earnings of 270 million euros, while the sellers — PAI Partners and Goldman Sachs’ (GS.N) investment arm — are hoping for a multiple of 8 times, the sources said.

Listed sector peers such as Wienerberger (WBSV.VI), Braas Monier (BMSA.DE) or Etex (BE0941244536.BR) trade at roughly 6 to 7 times their expected core earnings.

The private equity groups and Xella’s owners declined to comment.

Xella posted revenues of 1.3 billion euros and core earnings of 259 million in the 12 months to the end of June 2016, according to its latest financial presentation. Its net debt stood at 705 million euros.

An attempt to float Xella on the stock exchange failed last year.

Xella has given no specific forecast for core earnings but has said that it expects its efficiency program to bear fruit while it sees an upward trend in the construction industry continuing in its core markets where Germany, the Netherlands and Poland have been drivers over the last two to three years.

Building materials brands such as Ytong, Hebel and Silka account for roughly two thirds of the Duisburg, Germany-based group’s business, while 20 percent of its sales come from higher-margin lime and limestone businesses, which account for almost a third of group earnings.