FRANKFURT Private equity group IK Investment Partners has hired Goldman Sachs (GS.N) to find a buyer for Germany-based fire extinguisher maker Minimax, two people familiar with the process told Reuters.
The sale will be launched in the first quarter, they said on Wednesday.
"It is still not decided, whether IK will opt for a sale or a dual track process," one of the people said, referring to the possibility that IK could also prepare for a flotation of Minimax alongside the sale process.
Minimax, which generates more than 1 billion euros ($1.4 billion) in annual sales, is one of the world's largest fire equipment suppliers. It generates the vast majority of sales from industrial fire protection systems and is expected to be valued at about 1 billion euros in a potential deal.
IK bought Minimax in 2006 from Investcorp for an undisclosed amount, financing the deal with 530 million euros in bank lending, according to data from Thomson Reuters LPC.
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.
IK Investments and Goldman Sachs declined to comment.
(Reporting by Arno Schuetze; Editing by Mark Potter)