UPDATE 1-Baring Asia to offer $320 mln for PE-backed Interplex Holdings

(Adds confirmation of deal, details of proposed offer)

SINGAPORE, Dec 23 (Reuters) - Baring Private Equity Asia is looking to offer S$450 million ($320 million) to buy Interplex Holdings, a Singapore-listed engineering company, majority owned by CVC Capital Partners and the private equity arm of Standard Chartered.

“The offer represents an opportunity for Baring to acquire control in a precision engineering company with a strong track record, global manufacturing footprint, and diversified customer base,” Baring said in a statement on Wednesday.

Baring Private Equity Asia is one of the largest independent private equity firms in Asia, comprising funds with more than $9 billion in committed capital. The firm has over 30 portfolio companies across Asia.

It said CVC, which owns about 28 percent of Interplex through an investment holding firm, and Standard Chartered Private Equity, which owns nearly 30 percent, had agreed to accept its preconditional voluntary general offer.

Interplex, which renamed itself this year from Amtek Engineering Ltd after acquiring U.S.-based Interplex Group to diversify into new markets, had no immediate comment on the offer.

Trading in shares of Interplex was halted on Wednesday. Reuters later reported that the company was set to announce a takeover offer from a regional investment fund.

Baring said its proposed cash offer price of S$0.82 per share for Interplex, reflects a premium of 15.5 percent over Interplex’s trading price of S$0.71 on Tuesday and represents the winning bid in a competitive sale process. It said the offer price exceeds the highest closing price of Interplex in the last four years.

It set a deadline of the evening of June 30, 2016 to fulfill or waive the pre-conditions for the offer.

Interplex has seen a change of ownership in recent years. In December 2010, it relisted on the Singapore exchange via an IPO that raised S$299 million, about three years after Standard Chartered Private Equity and CVC Capital Partners acquired the company and delisted it.

Profit at Interplex has been under pressure in recent years due to flat revenue and rising staff costs. The firm’s shares have fallen by about one third over the past five years.

Interplex, which caters to a wide range of sectors including the automotive, electronic casing, mass storage and consumer and industrial electronics, counts Canon, Philips and Sony among its global clients.

The offer from Baring is subject to various conditions including required governmental and regulatory agency approvals having been received and consent from bond holders of Interplex.

DBS Bank is the financial adviser to Baring on the offer, while Rippledot Capital Advisers and Standard Chartered Bank are acting as joint financial advisers to CVC and Standard Chartered Private Equity. ($1 = 1.4076 Singapore dollars) (Reporting by Anshuman Daga, editing by David Evans)