LONDON The private equity group Terra Firma TERA.UL plans to sell assets this year that are likely to include the European cinema chain Odeon & UCI Group to raise more than 1 billion pounds ($1.6 billion), the Financial Times said on Monday.
The group, which is led by dealmaker Guy Hands, plans first to sell the energy firms Phoenix Natural Gas and Infinis before selling Odeon later in the year, the paper cited one person familiar with the situation as saying.
The disposal plans are part of an effort by Hands to return cash to his backers before attempting to raise a new buyout fund, the FT said.
Odeon, which operated 231 cinemas across Europe at the end of 2011, was valued at 1.2 billion pounds two years ago when Hands first tried to sell it. He shelved sale talks in favor of a refinancing of the chain.
Its sale would likely attract interest from the same bidders as last time, such as the rival chain Vue, which is owned by the private equity firm Doughty Hanson DOUHA.UL, and BC Partners BCPRT.UL, the FT said, citing people familiar with the situation.
Terra Firma was not immediately available to comment.
($1 = 0.6236 British pounds)
(Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Kevin Liffey)