* Ametek, Danaher, Honeywell mull bids for safety group
* Seller Capvis wants about 600 mln euros for Bartec
* Bain, Carlyle, Cinven, Charterhouse consider bids -sources
* Clayton Dubilier & Rice, CVC and Permira also in frame
By Simon Meads and Arno Schuetze
LONDON/FRANKFURT, May 23 Leading U.S. industrial
groups and buyout firms are circling Bartec, a German maker of
safety systems designed to prevent explosions in hazardous areas
of oil and gas production, people familiar with the situation
Ametek, Danaher and Honeywell are
among those eyeing the maker of analysis and electrical safety
systems for companies such as BP and Exxon Mobil,
three people said.
Swiss private equity group Capvis, which owns Bartec, hopes
to get about 600 million euros ($765 million) for it at auction.
Bartec has attracted a large field of potential suitors due
to its strong profit growth at a time of economic turmoil and
its focus on essential areas of safety for oil and gas
producers, one of the people said.
It expects earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and
amortisation (EBITDA) of about 60 million euros in 2012, up from
about 50 million last year, a person close to the company said.
Cooper Industries had also expressed interest in the
company, but on Monday agreed to be taken over by rival Eaton
Bartec is one example in a growing list of medium-sized
European companies being put up for sale, as buyout groups scour
their portfolios for sell-off candidates.
The strong field of Bartec suitors will give heart to
private equity firms that their best-performing businesses can
attract widespread interest and good prices.
Capvis bought a majority stake in Bartec in 2008 in a deal
that valued it at about 300 million euros, according to reports.
The U.S. industrial groups face stiff competition from
buyout firms keen to pick up a growing company which also sells
its control panels, monitoring equipment and motors to the
chemical, mining and pharmaceutical industries.
Private equity groups including Bain, Carlyle Group,
Cinven, Charterhouse, Clayton Dubilier &
Rice, CVC and Permira are also looking at
company data and considering bids, the people said.
First-round bids are due in June, the people added.
Capvis, which specialises in buying mid-sized companies in
Switzerland, Germany and Austria, asked Commerzbank
and William Blair to look for buyers earlier this year.
Ametek, Honeywell and seller Capvis declined to comment.
Cooper Industries and Danaher were unavailable for comment. The
private equity firms either declined to comment or were not
available for comment. Bartec also declined to comment.