* Bilfinger says profitability of unit key to decision
* Says market for facility services worth billions (Adds research, CEO comments, detail)
By Peter Dinkloh
MANNHEIM, Germany, March 13 (Reuters) - Germany’s Bilfinger will look closely at a rival facility and energy management business that Hochtief plans to sell as it seeks to tap a growing market in making buildings more energy efficient, Bilfinger’s chief executive said.
Bilfinger is seeking to benefit from a European Union drive to curb carbon dioxide emissions and help build offshore windparks, modernise and revamp power plants and cut energy use in buildings.
The business, which Hochtief is selling to focus on becoming one of the biggest infrastructure providers worldwide, would have to fulfil Bilfinger’s expectations of profitability, Chief Executive Roland Koch said on Wednesday.
Bilfinger would be joining a number of bidders including Finland’s YIT, Denmark’s ISS, Vinci and Cofely of France, according to German magazine WirtschaftsWoche.
Austria’s Strabag already said it was interested in the business. Hochtief, which is controlled by Spain’s ACS, is expecting to get up to 170 million euros ($221 million) for the division, the magazine said.
“Modernising commercial real estate will be very interesting,” Bilfinger Chief Koch said. “The market for efficiency increases will be worth billions... It’s an area that will grow dramatically as companies expect they will become subject of government regulation.”
Excluding a possible takeover of the Hochtief unit, Bilfinger reiterated a forecast that its operating earnings adjusted for disposals would rise for a sixth consecutive year in 2014 thanks to bigger profits from servicing industrial plants and power stations. ($1 = 0.7680 euros) (Reporting By Peter Dinkloh; Editing by Tom Pfeiffer)