* Private equity firms and shipbuilders may bid - sources
* Maker of dredgers said to have 150 million euros EBITDA
* Rabobank unit backed earlier buyout six years ago
(Adds background on January interview, earlier buyout)
By Quentin Webb
LONDON, March 14 Rabobank [RABN.UL] and Dutch
billionaire Cees de Bruin are planning to sell a stake in IHC
Merwede, the bespoke shipbuilder hoping to benefit from a boom
in deep-sea mining, people familiar with the matter said.
The part-sale of IHC, which designs, builds and equips
vessels for land reclamation, oil drilling and deep-sea mining,
could fetch hundreds of millions of euros and interest buyout
firms and Asian and Middle Eastern shipbuilders, they said.
IHC and its owners -- Dutch lender Rabobank's private equity
arm Rabo Capital, IHC employees, and a unit of de Bruin's
Indofin -- hired JPMorgan and Rabobank's own investment bankers
to help prepare a sale, the sources said on Monday.
Potential buyers were set to receive preliminary information
ahead of a formal auction, one of the people said, adding that
while a minority stake would initially be offered, bidders could
ultimately be offered a controlling stake.
IHC has prospered building one-off ships for dredging
companies such as Koninklijke Boskalis Westminster NV (BOSN.AS)
but is now betting on a surge in underwater mining, buying a
South African marine-diamond firm MMP last year, and agreeing a
mining joint venture with DEME of Belgium last week.
IHC, which had earnings before interest, tax, depreciation
and amortisation (EBITDA) of 102 million euros ($143 million) in
2009, is now generating about 150 million a year, one of the
people familiar with the matter said.
Strategic bidders could include Singaporean group Keppel Corp
(KPLM.SI), the world's largest oil-rig builder, and its domestic
rival Sembcorp Marine Ltd (SCMN.SI); MISC Berhad (MISC.KL) of
Malaysia; and Dubai World's [DBWLD.UL] Drydocks World unit,
another person said.
Indofin investment director Maarten Douma confirmed the two
banks had been hired but declined to comment further. A Rabobank
official declined to comment. IHC Merwede, JPMorgan and Rabo
Capital did not respond to requests for comment.
In January, IHC director Bram Roelse told De Tijd, a Belgian
newspaper, it was seeking 300-600 million euros new capital to
help fund foreign acquisitions. Roelse said IHC's revenues would
grow from 1.1 billion euros to 1.5-2.0 billion in 3-5 years.
Rabobank, a co-operative that is the biggest Dutch savings
bank, backed a 2005 management buyout of the firm from IHC
Caland, now known as SBM Offshore NV (SBMO.AS). Rabo Capital
took 49 percent, employees 33 percent, and Parkland, a unit of
de Bruin's Indofin group, bought 18 percent.
De Bruin, whose investments span biotechnology, mining, and
property, is worth about 1.1 billion euros, Dutch magazine Quote
estimated last year.
The courting of overseas buyers suggests IHC's ownership was
less controversial than six years ago. A Rabobank presentation
about the earlier deal said the bank was "able to prevent three
centuries of Dutch industrial heritage from falling into foreign
(Reporting by Quentin Webb; Editing by Steve Slater and Dan
($1 = 0.7147 euro)