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ZURICH, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Swiss industrial group OC Oerlikon has made a bid for Sulzer's coating unit Metco, the world's largest maker of thermal spray coatings used in the car, chemical and energy industries.
Sulzer put the business up for sale to concentrate on more lucrative businesses making pumps, equipment and services for the oil and gas industry and has asked for tentative bids by mid-October.
"OC Oerlikon confirms its participation in the auction process relating to the sale by Sulzer Ltd of its Metco division," the company said in a two-sentence statement.
Sulzer hopes the Metco sale will fetch about 800 million Swiss francs ($880 million), two people with familiar with the process have told Reuters.
Aside from Oerlikon, Sulzer has approached peers including British Bodycote, U.S-based Praxair and Japanese IHI Corp, these people said.
Russian tycoon Viktor Vekselberg owns large stakes in both Oerlikon and Sulzer - almost half of the former and a third of the latter - and Oerlikon has been cited as a possible main contender in the auction.
Earlier this year, Oerlikon's interim Chief Executive Juerg Fedier said the company had 1.2 billion Swiss francs to spend on potential acquisitions and that the vacuum and coating segments would be in focus.