Saint-Gobain launches sale of glass bottle maker Verallia, say sources-Reuters

(Reuters) – French building materials group Saint-Gobain is launching the sale of its European glass bottle maker Verallia in a potential 3 billion euro ($3.45 bln) deal, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The deal comes after the French group sold Verallia’s U.S. operations to Irish Ardagh for $1.7 billion, and amid a messy takeover situation for Saint-Gobain in Switzerland. Plans by Saint-Gobain to spin off the whole of Verallia, which makes jars for Nutella spread and bottles for Dom Perignon champagne, were shelved in 2011 when markets were rocked by the deepening euro zone debt crisis.

The sale of the remaining Verallia business, which is being organised by JP Morgan and BNP Paribas will likely be launched in late February or in March, the people said.

Verallia in 2013 posted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation of of 441 million euros and may reap a valuation of 2.5 billion to more than 3 billion euros in a potential sale, the sources said.

Listed U.S. peer Owens-Illinois trades at 5.4 times its expected earnings.

Ardagh on Friday repeated earlier comments that it is monitoring the sale of Verallia, adding that this would not throw off the timing of its own planned stock market listing.

People familiar with the Verallia sale said that besides Ardagh they expect private equity groups such as Bain, BC Partners, Blackstone, Carlyle, CVC and Permira to look at the asset.

Saint-Gobain, JP Morgan, BNP, Bain, Blackstone declined to comment, while the other buyout groups were not immediately available for comment.

Saint-Gobain’s Swiss takeover target Sika said earlier this week that prominent funds were backing management’s efforts to thwart a 2.75 billion Swiss franc takeover by the French building materials company.