FRANKFURT/DUESSELDORF, Feb 28 (Reuters) - German chemicals group Evonik has attracted binding bids for its methacrylates plastics unit, which makes clear acrylic sheets and could be valued at 2-2.5 billion euros ($2.3 billion) including debt, people close to the matter said.
The company announced plans in March 2018 to sell the business as it looks to focus on faster-growing sectors, such as feed additives, rubber silica for tyres and cosmetic ingredients.
Private equity firms Advent, SK Capital and a consortium of Triton and Rhone Capital, as well as petrochemicals group Ineos, are expected to present final offers by a Thursday deadline, they said.
Evonik is expected to evaluate the bids and to enter negotiations with two groups before deciding on a buyer, one of the people said.
Other bidders such as Korean petroleum products maker SK Innovation and Chinese chemicals company Shenghong have dropped out of the bidding, the people said.
The Evonik unit competes with Arkema’s Altuglas unit in polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), and MMA, a precursor material for PMMA, glues and paints.
PMMA is used in the construction, automotive and electronics industries and known by brand names such as Plexiglas.
Evonik and the suitors declined to comment or were not immediately available.
The business up for sale posted 2017 earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of less than 400 million euros on 1.8 billion euros of sales.
The company expects the unit’s earnings to decrease this year due to a cyclical downturn and potential buyers have been trying to gauge average long-term profit levels, which some peg at around 250 million euros.
Evonik is due to report 2018 earnings on Tuesday. ($1 = 0.8782 euros) (Editing by Ludwig Burger)