Reuters: Private Equity Circles Siemens’ Water Tech Unit -sources

(Reuters) – Siemens AG is hoping to fetch as much as $700 million in the auction of its water technologies unit and is seeking second-round bids by the middle of August, several people familiar with the matter said this week.

Platinum Equity LLC, Centerbridge Partners LP and Golden Gate Capital LLC are among the private equity firms preparing to submit offers, the sources said.

The unit generated $1.3 billion in revenue in 2012, and most private equity firms estimate its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization to be between $70 million and $80 million, the sources added.
The sources asked not to be identified because details of the auction are confidential.

Siemens and its financial adviser on the sale, Goldman Sachs Group Inc, declined to comment. Platinum and Golden Gate declined to comment, while a spokesman for Centerbridge did not respond to a request for comment.
The Siemens water technologies unit offers products ranging from conventional water treatment to emergency water supply and water disinfection systems.

Siemens, which ranks as Germany’s second-most-valuable company and which makes products ranging from trains to hearing aids, announced last November its intention to divest the water technologies business in a bid to focus on its most profitable assets.

The industrial conglomerate said at the time that the bulk of the water technologies unit operates in a highly fragmented market, serving municipal and industrial clients, and so has little in common with Siemens’ global sales setup.

Siemens built up the unit through a flurry of acquisitions over the last decade, including buying the water systems and services division of U.S. Filter from Veolia Environnement for $1 billion in 2004.