U.S. groups, private equity line up bids for cargo handler Telair, say sources-Reuters

(Reuters) – U.S. aerospace components maker Transdigm and European buyout groups Cinven and EQT are all exploring an acquisition of cargo handler Telair in a potential $700-800 million deal, two people familiar with the transaction said.

Aviation support company AAR Corp has asked for final bids for its Germany-headquartered business by late January or early February, the sources said.

U.S. industrial conglomerate Honeywell and aviation firm Triumph are also considering making final bids for Telair, one of the sources said.

Telair has annual core earnings (EBITDA) of about $70 million and the company could fetch more than ten times that, the sources said.

Previously, sources had said that Telair may be valued at up to $1 billion in a potential sale.

Telair’s workers fear that a sale to an industry player may cause severe job cuts as seen after TransDigm’s acquisition of a Telair unit in 2010, an employee representative said.

Telair, Honeywell, Cinven and EQT declined to comment, while Transdigm and Triumph were not available for comment.

Previously owned by Teleflex, Telair was sold to AAR along with Nordisk Aviation Products in 2011 for a combined $280 million.

Telair designs, manufactures and supports on-board baggage and cargo systems, such as its “Sliding Carpet” device, for companies including Airbus and Boeing.

Since the 2011 acquisition Telair has bought Germany’s PFW Aerospace, boosting its loading-system assets.

Telair’s low capital expenditure and ability to free up cash quickly makes it attractive to private equity bidders, sources familiar with the asset have said.