UPDATE 1-Sulzer sells Metco coatings unit to Oerlikon for $950 mln in cash

Fri Jan 31, 2014 1:37am EST

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ZURICH Jan 31 (Reuters) - Swiss machinery manufacturer Sulzer agreed to sell its coatings unit Metco to peer Oerlikon for around 850 million Swiss francs ($949 million) in cash, as it seeks to focus on it three main businesses.

The deal is based on a enterprise value - equity plus debt -of 1 billion Swiss francs, Sulzer said in a statement published on Friday.

Sulzer put Metco up for sale last year to concentrate on more lucrative businesses making pumps and equipment and providing services for the oil and gas industry.

"We are pleased that we have found a new owner for the Sulzer Metco division that will leverage the strengths of the business in the best possible way," Sulzer Chief Executive Klaus Stahlmann said.

Metco, the world's largest maker of thermal spray coatings for the car, chemicals and energy industries, had sales of 690 million francs and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of 91.7 million francs in 2012. It employs around 2,400 people.

Buyout group EQT was also said to have submitted a bid for Metco, according to three people familiar with the transaction.

In a separate statement, Oerlikon said it plans to combine Metco with its existing coatings business to increase its market access. The combined business will operate around 130 facilities and employ some 6,000 people.

"This step marks an important milestone for the Oerlikon Group, creating the technologically leading global product and service company for Surface Solutions," said Oerlikon CEO Brice Koch.

The deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, is expected to close in the third quarter.

($1 = 0.8959 Swiss francs) (Reporting by Caroline Copley; Editing by John Stonestreet)

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