August 21, 2014 / 12:15 AM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-Australia's SAI Global returns to profit as suitors line up

* FY14 underlying profit A$45 mln vs A$45.56 mln analysts’ fcasts

* Actively engaged with potential takeovers

* More efficiency gains in FY15 (Adds executive director comment, shares, outlook)

SYDNEY, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Australian industry compliance firm and takeover target SAI Global Ltd announced on Thursday a return to an annual net profit from a loss the previous year, hitting analysts’ forecasts as it fields a number of potential takeover offers.

Net profit was A$35.3 million ($32.78 million) for the year to June 30, from a net loss of A$43.2 million the previous year. Excluding one-off restructuring costs, net profit grew 6.3 percent to A$45.0 million, compared with the A$45.56 million average forecast of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The former arm of government-contracted compliance body Standards Australia has been in the sights of private equity companies after two years of declining profit, culminating in the termination of its chief executive officer’s contract in May after just four months.

The company has said it has “multiple” parties doing due diligence with a view to takeover bids. The only named suitor, Australian buyout firm Pacific Equity Partners, made a A$1.1 billion indicative offer in May before being joined in the approach by private equity giant KKR & Co LP.

SAI executive chairman Andrew Dutton said the company remained “actively engaged with a number of parties involved in the expression of interest process”, without commenting further.

Steps taken to fix inefficiencies between the company’s “siloed” business divisions will create “improved operational leverage in FY15”, Dutton added.

SAI shares rose 1.2 percent at A$4.92 in early trading on Wednesday, below PEP’s initial indicative bid of A$5.10 to A$5.25.

1 US dollar = 1.0769 Australian dollar Reporting by Byron Kaye; Editing by Paul Tait and Stephen Coates

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