UPDATE 1-IPO candidate Edwards sees stronger second half
* Says rapidly recovered from global downturn
* Says has high level of order coverage
* Sees underlying H2 revenue growth
(Adds detail, background)
By Quentin Webb
LONDON, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Edwards Group, the British vacuum technology firm preparing for a sale or flotation, said it had "rapidly recovered" from the global downturn and its sales and profits would grow further in the second half of the year.
In a statement on Monday, the firm said first-half net sales rose 74 percent from a year earlier to 298 million pounds. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose to 59.8 million pounds from 2.2 million a year earlier.
"For the second half of 2010 Edwards has high levels of order coverage and anticipates underlying revenue growth over the first half, with the contribution flowing through to operating profit and cashflow," the company said.
People familiar with the matter say Edwards's private equity backers value the firm at about 1.5 billion pounds ($2.4 billion). Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America Merrill Lynch have been hired as advisers for a potential deal.
Its technology, which includes pumps that can create vacuums as empty as space, is used by all of the world's 10 biggest chipmakers, including Advanced Micro Devices Inc (AMD.N) and Hynix Semiconductor Inc (000660.KS).
In a recent interview with Reuters, Chief Executive Matthew Taylor said Edwards would benefit from increased spending on semiconductor plants next year, itself aided by growing use of NAND memory chips in Apple Inc (AAPL.O) iPads and other "tablet" devices. [ID:nLDE68Q1KH] ($1=.6322 Pound) (Reporting by Quentin Webb; Editing by Will Waterman)