Schneider in talks with Carlyle, PAI to sell sensors unit

PARIS Thu Apr 3, 2014 12:49pm EDT

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PARIS (Reuters) - French electrical gear maker Schneider Electric (SCHN.PA) said it was in exclusive talks with private equity groups The Carlyle Group (CG.O) and PAI Partners to sell its sensors business in a deal based on an enterprise value of $900 million.

Schneider said it would reinvest about $100 million in the business - Custom Sensors & Technologies (CST) - in order to have a shareholding of about 30 percent.

CST designs and makes sensors for clients in the aerospace, transport, energy, medical, and food and drink industries, among others. It had revenue of about $600 million last year, with approximately 4,500 employees in more than 30 countries.

"CST is a well-run, global company, positioned in an attractive market place," Laurent Rivoire, a partner at PAI, said in a joint statement with The Carlyle Group.

The deal is subject to consultation with French staff works councils, after which the companies said they would enter final negotiations.

Schneider said in February that it was shifting its focus to making its existing business more efficient after a decade-long acquisition spree in which tripled in size. The world's No. 1 maker of low-and-medium voltage equipment had taken over more than 100 companies in the last 10 years.

(Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Andrew Callus and Jane Merriman)

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