Henkel aims to complete sale of Russia business soon -NZZ

Simone Bagel-Trah, chairwoman of the supervisory board of German consumer goods group Henkel is seen next to the company's logo at the annual general shareholders' meeting in Duesseldorf, Germany, April 11, 2016. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/File Photo

BERLIN, Dec 22 (Reuters) - Germany's Henkel aims to complete the sale of its Russia business soon, the supervisory board head told the Neue Zuercher Zeitung newspaper, an exit the chemical and consumer goods announced this year after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"We have started the sale process," Simone Bagel-Trah said in an interview published on Thursday, adding Henkel had narrowed down a list of serious potential buyers after many expressed interest initially.

"The process is underway and we want to quickly complete it," she said, adding that Russia had been an important market for Henkel, with 11 production sites and one billion euros ($1.06 billion) in revenue.

Henkel said this month it had spun off its Russia business in preparation for a sale.

Brushing off any suggestion that Henkel should be split into two independent divisions, Bagel-Trah said she was convinced the current structure had advantages, such as internal synergies and a balanced portfolio.

"In addition, with two businesses we have a bigger balance sheet. This could be helpful, for example for larger acquisitions," she told the Swiss paper.

The company aimed to build a consumer goods business that could take bigger acquisitions, she said.

Bagel-Trah was also concerned by developments in China. Although the company wanted to stay active there, it also wanted to ensure that in the event of an "emergency", assets such as intellectual property or IT would not be badly affected. She declined to elaborate.

($1 = 0.9427 euros)

Reporting by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Josie Kao

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