* Minimax's 2011 sales 1 bln euros, earnings 92.5 mln eur
* IK plans to pick banks for sale next year -sources
* Could attract Honeywell, United Technologies -sources
* IPO also an option for Minimax -source
By Arno Schuetze and Simon Meads
FRANKFURT/LONDON, Nov 23 Private equity group IK
Investment Partners is planning to sell Germany-based fire
extinguisher maker Minimax, which generated 1 billion euros
($1.3 billion) in sales last year, sources said.
The private equity house, which focuses on buying mid-sized
companies in Northern Europe, aims to pick advisory banks early
next year and launch the sale process within the first half of
the year, four people familiar with the matter said.
Minimax, which employs over 6,200 people and makes a range
of fire extinguishing and detection systems, could attract U.S.
technology groups Honeywell and United Technologies
as well as rival private equity groups, two of the
The company posted earnings before interest, tax,
depreciation and amortisation of 92.5 million euros in 2011 and
sales of 995 million euros, company accounts showed.
Rival companies such as security firm Tyco, and
Honeywell itself, trade at 7.8 times their earnings and Minimax
could fetch more than 700 million euros on a similar valuation.
An initial public offering (IPO) of the business is also an
option, one of the people said.
A spokeswoman for IK declined to comment.
IK bought Minimax in 2006 from Investcorp for an undisclosed
amount, financing the deal with 530 million euros in bank
lending, data from Thomson Reuters LPC showed.
At that point the company had revenues of under 500 million
euros a year, but it has since grown considerably, taking over
U.S. rival Viking Group in 2009.
It is now the world's third-largest fire equipment supplier,
and market leader in the United States and China, generating the
vast majority of sales from industrial fire protection systems.
The prospective sale comes at an important time for IK
Investment Partners as it asks investors to back its latest
buyout fund, for which it has raised about half of the 1.7
billion euros it is seeking.
However, recent efforts to sell companies have gone poorly.
It was forced to shelve the sales of industrials firm Schenck
Process, sports pitch maker Sport Group and glass manufacturer
Flabeg when bids fell short of targets, sources said.
IK, with roots in the Nordic region, has also been at the
centre of a long-running tax investigation by Sweden's Tax
Agency, resulting in bills for hundreds of millions of dollars
in back taxes for the firm's dealmakers.