RLPC-Apax finalising deal to buy Italian auto parts maker Rhiag

LONDON, April 24 Wed Apr 24, 2013 9:31am EDT

LONDON, April 24 (Reuters) - Private equity firm Apax Partners is finalising a deal to buy Italian auto parts distributor Rhiag from Alpha Associes in the first Italian leveraged buyout in a year, bankers and investors said on Wednesday.

The sale could value Rhiag at more than 500 million euros ($650.75 million) or more than 6.25 times the company's roughly 80 million euros of earnings.

Bain Capital was previously reported to have been in exclusive discussions to buy the company last June.

Apax Partners declined to comment.

The last Italian buyout was agreed in May 2011, when BC Partners bought clothing retailer Gruppo Coin for 930 million euros.

Alpha bought Rhiag in a 2007 buyout and tried to list the company on the stock exchange in 2011. The IPO, which valued the company at up to 398 million euros, was pulled due to adverse market conditions. ($1 = 0.7683 euros) (Reporting by Tessa Walsh; editing by Keiron Henderson)