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(In final paragraph, adds that sales of 4.4 bln euros were in 2011, adds preliminary sales for 2012)
By Alexander Hübner and Arno Schuetze
FRANKFURT, March 18 (Reuters) - Germany's Kion Group has hired banks to go public as early as late June as the owners of the world's No.2 fork lift truck maker seek to cash in on recovering equity markets.
Kion, split off from gases group Linde in 2006, has retained co-owner Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank to advise it on an initial public offering in late June or early July, two people familiar with the plans told Reuters on Monday.
"The process has been sped up a little," one of the sources said.
A favourable stock market environment, with the FTSEurofirst 300 up 6 percent so far this year, has also encouraged the owners of Evonik to revive plans to take the German specialty chemicals maker public.
A spokesman for Kion, which has said since last summer that its owners were eyeing a flotation, declined to comment on what he described as "speculation".
Apart from the private equity arm of Goldman Sachs, Kion is owned by buyout firm KKR. The two companies declined to comment.
A further major shareholder is Chinese firm Shandong Heavy Industry Group, which late last year secured the option to increase its stake in Kion to one third as part of an IPO.
Shandong had previously bought a 25 percent stake in Kion for 467 million euros ($610 million).
Kion, the industry's No.2 after Toyota Industries, had annual sales of about 4.4 billion euros in 2011 with brands including Linde, OM Still, Fenwick, Baoli and Voltas. For 2012, it expects sales of around 4.65-4.75 billion euros, according to preliminary figures. ($1 = 0.7654 euros) (Additional reporting by Frank Siebelt; Writing by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Victoria Bryan)