June 8, 2011 / 8:16 AM / 8 years ago

GE, Siemens, Carlyle bid for S.Africa firm: source

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - General Electric (GE.N), Siemens AG (SIEGn.DE) and private equity group Carlyle Group CYL.UL are among the bidders for South African equipment repair firm Savcio Holdings in a potential $500 million deal, a person familiar with the matter said.

Swiss engineering firm ABB Ltd ABBN.VX had also been involved in bidding for the Johannesburg-based company, but its current interest is unclear, said the person, who declined to be identified because the information is not yet public.

Private equity firms Actis and Ethos Private Equity are looking to sell their combined controlling stake in Savcio, as are its minority shareholders, the person said.

There has already been one round of bidding, with the second round due by early July, the person said.

Savcio has an enterprise value, or combined debt and equity, of $400 million to $500 million, the person said, making the deal a substantial one for South Africa’s growing private equity market.

ABB, Actis, Carlyle, Ethos, GE and Siemens all declined to comment.

It was not immediately clear whether any of the bidders could face competition-related hurdles.

South African regulators have been tough on big cross-border deals in the past, and unions are wary of multi-nationals, particularly U.S. companies.

South Africa last month approved Wal-Mart’s (WMT.N) $2.4 billion bid for control of retailer Massmart (MSMJ.J) with conditions, although the deal went through an arduous process, with three government departments and influential unions lining up against Wal-Mart.

Reporting by David Dolan; editing by Ed Cropley

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