Spain’s Savera seeks buyer for majority stake, say sources-Reuters

(Reuters) – Spain’s Savera Group, which earns most of its revenue in China, is seeking a buyer for around 70 percent of itself, in a sale valuing the company at up to $500 million, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The maker of tracks used to guide elevators is working with financial adviser Business Development Asia (BDA) and is targeting private equity buyers, said the people, who declined to be identified because the sale is confidential.

BDA has sent sales documents to potential buyers including the U.S.’s Carlyle Group and TPG Capital Management , Sweden’s EQT and Hong Kong’s PAG, the people said.

Savera began as a European-focused company in 1967, but now earns more than 80 percent of revenue from China, said one of the people who has seen the sales documents.

Bankers have drawn comparisons with the 2010 sale of Dutch cylinder maker Hyva, which earned around 70 percent of revenue from Asia, with the majority from China. Hyva was bought by private equity firm Unitas Capital and NWS Holdings for around $700 million, Reuters previously reported.

Savera’s sale would be the latest in a series of deals where suitors have had the opportunity to buy controlling stakes in businesses either based in China or with significant exposure to the world’s second-biggest economy.

The future of many such businesses is now largely reliant on Chinese growth, and private equity firms and corporate buyers are seeking opportunities to leverage on European technology and combine it with Chinese demand, according to bankers,

Private equity investment in China is still largely focused on buying small stakes in growing companies heading for an initial public offering, according to industry executives.

However, the shutdown of China’s capital markets for over a year starting in late 2012 and a difficult financing environment for small and mid-sized enterprises led to an 83 percent increase in majority stakes acquisitions in 2013, Thomson Reuters data showed.

While that is starting from a low base – total deal volume was $1.4 billion – companies have also increased in size after years of sustained economic growth in China, which is further attracting private equity attention.

Savera has estimated earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of around $60 million, and the business could be sold at over eight times that value, or around $500 million, the people said.

The first round of bidding is due at the end of March, the people said.

Savera and BDA did not respond to requests for comment. Carlyle, PAG and an external spokesman for TPG declined to comment. EQT did not respond immediately to requests for comment.