Bausch & Lomb aspires to return to public markets -CEO
* Remains focused on growth
* Expects full-year 2012 sales of $3.1 billion
By Deena Beasley
SAN FRANCISCO, Jan 8 (Reuters) - Eye care company Bausch & Lomb is focused on future growth at the same time it is "aspiring to return to public markets," Chief Executive Officer Brent Saunders said following a presentation here.
He declined to comment on reports that Warburg Pincus, which took the company private in 2007 for about $4.5 billion, including $830 million in debt, is looking for buyers willing to pay more than $10 billion for the eye care company.
Sources have also said the private equity firm could turn to an initial public offering (IPO) as an alternative.
"We are aspiring to return to public markets," Saunders said on the sidelines of the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference on Tuesday.
Bausch & Lomb expects to post record sales of $3.1 billion for 2012, according to the CEO.
Full-year earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization are expected to total around $640 million.
Industry sources here at the conference have mentioned companies including Johnson & Johnson, Abbott Laboratories, Sanofi and Merck & Co Inc as potential buyers of Bausch & Lomb.
Founded in 1853, Rochester, New York-based Bausch & Lomb makes contact lenses, eye drugs and surgical equipment and sells its products in more than 100 countries.
The company has undergone a transformation under Saunders, who joined in March 2010 and has built up the business through acquisitions, most recently taking over Germany's Technolas Perfect Vision GmbH, an eye laser firm, in November.