Israel irrigation firm Netafim draws interest from 6 bidders: report

TEL AVIV (Reuters) - Six international companies and funds have made it to the second round of bidding for buyout group Permira’s [PERM.UL] 61.3 percent stake in Israeli irrigation firm Netafim, Israel’s Calcalist financial newspaper said on Wednesday.

The contenders are Mexican chemical firm Mexichem MEXCHEM.MX; U.S. industrial technologies company Fortive Corp FTV.N, Singapore's Temasek Holdings [TEM.UL], U.S. tools maker Stanley Black & Decker SWK.N, Chinese investment fund Primavera and Chinese pipe maker Ningxia Qinglong 002457.SZ.

The sale has set a minimum value of $1.5 billion for the company.

Netafim said in March it had hired Goldman Sachs GS.N to handle a possible sale or public offering of the company. Centerview and Bank of America BAC.N were also appointed to advise on the deal.

The company is hoping for a valuation of between 10 and 12 times its expected 2017 earning before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of around $120 million, a banking source told Reuters in May.

Any offer reflecting a value of more than $1.8 billion allows Permira to force the remaining shareholders to sell their holdings in Netafim, Calcalist said. Kibbutz Hatzerim owns 32.7 percent of Netafim and Kibbutz Magal owns 6 percent.

A spokesman for Netafim declined to comment.

The date of the third round has yet to be set.

Netafim, which has 4,300 employees and 17 factories in 10 countries, provides irrigation products for agriculture, greenhouse and mining applications.

Reporting by Tova Cohen, editing by Louise Heavens