UPDATE 1-Rockwood agrees 1.49 bln euro CeramTec sale to Cinven
* Deal expected to close in third quarter
* Cinven says backs CeramTec's growth plans in N. America, Asia
FRANKFURT, June 16 (Reuters) - Cinven Ltd has agreed to buy CeramTec for 1.49 billion euros ($1.99 billion), beating rival private equity firm BC Partners Ltd in bidding for the Germany-based industrial ceramics unit of U.S. chemicals maker Rockwood Holdings.
A statement issued on Sunday by Rockwood said Cinven had obtained fully committed financing for the deal, which was expected to close in the third quarter of this year once it obtained regulatory approvals.
Reuters reported on June 14 that Cinven was in exclusive talks to buy CeramTec for close to 1.5 billion euros, outbidding BC Partners' bid of just over 1.4 billion.
CeramTec is a leading manufacturer of high performance ceramics for applications in the medical, automotive, industrial and electronic markets.
Its proprietary product portfolio includes hip joint prostheses components, high-speed cutting tools and ballistic ceramics for armour.
"We are keen to support (CeramTec's) growth outside its core European markets, specifically in North America and Asia, both organically and through acquisitions," Bruno Schick, co-head of Cinven's Germany operations, said in a statement from Cinven.
The statement also said it would support CeramTec's ongoing investments and new product initiatives such as LED lightning and semiconductor applications.
In 2012, CeramTec posted revenues of 425 million euros. It employs more than 3,000 people at 18 facilities worldwide.
Earlier this year, Rockwood CEO Seifi Ghasemi described the Princeton, New Jersey-based company's lithium and surface treatment businesses as core and said it would explore a sale of CeramTec in addition to its performance additives business and titanium dioxide business.
After struggling to fetch a good price for the titanium dioxide business, Rockwood bundled it with its performance additive operations in another auction that has attracted several private equity firms including Blackstone Group LP and Apollo Global Management LP, people familiar with the matter said last month.
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