August 30, 2012 / 3:50 PM / in 5 years

UPDATE 1-Russian Railways mulls bidding for GEFCO-document

By Gleb Stolyarov

MOSCOW, Aug 30 (Reuters) - Russian state railway monopoly Russian Railways has considered bidding for French carmaker Peugeot’s logistics division GEFCO, according to material produced for a Russian Railways’ board meeting and seen by Reuters on Thursday.

Peugeot plans to sell a 75 percent stake in GEFCO for up to 1 billion euros ($1.25 billion) to cut the car company’s debt and shore up its finances.

The presentation, dated August 2012, said that Peugeot asked Russian Railways in May if it wanted to bid for the asset.

The presentation said such a deal would have a positive impact on the global competitiveness of the Russian economy by improving the quality of logistics services.

A preliminary value of up to 975 million euros was put on the deal, excluding potential synergies, based on a $1.3 billion valuation for 100 percent of GEFCO, the document showed.

It is not clear whether Russian Railways remains interested in the asset. Russian Railways and Peugeot declined to comment.

People familiar with the situation told Reuters last month that Peugeot had narrowed the field of potential buyers to four private equity bidders - Gores Group, Platinum Equity, PAI and a team of CVC and AXA Private Equity.

Peugeot’s adviser on the GEFCO sale, Credit Suisse , is working on a financial package of up to 1 billion euros of loans and a high-yield bond that would be graded by a ratings agency, those people said.

The package would provide a guaranteed debt pool to finance a leveraged buy-out, while the rating would provide more reassurance for lenders to these private equity bidders and for investors in a high yield bond issued by GEFCO.

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