Sulzer’s Metco attracts bids from Oerlikon, EQT, say sources-Reuters

(Reuters) – Swiss machinery manufacturer Sulzer‘s has attracted offers from peer Oerlikon as well as buyout group EQT for its coatings unit Metco, three people familiar with the transaction said.

The bids handed in by a Friday deadline value Metco, the world’s largest maker of thermal spray coatings, catering to the car, chemicals and energy industries, at about 800 million Swiss francs ($883 million).

Russian tycoon Viktor Vekselberg owns a stake in both Sulzer and Oerlikon.

Sulzer’s former chairman Manfred Wennemer, who is also an advisor to EQT, resigned from his post at the Swiss group in late December, citing personal reasons.

“My resignation at Sulzer has nothing to do with my role at EQT and the potential sale of Metco to EQT or the Russian (Vekselberg),” Wennemer told Reuters on Friday.

Sulzer is selling the Metco unit to concentrate on more lucrative businesses making pumps and equipment and providing services for the oil and gas industry.

Lenders are preparing debt packages of 560 million Swiss francs to back EQT’s bid, bankers familiar with the transaction said.
Initially the sale had attracted interest from a number of strategic players like British Bodycote as well as from several private equity firms.

An Oerlikon spokeswoman said she had nothing new to say on the deal.

EQT declined to comment while Sulzer was not immediately available to comment.