Triton, Rhone sole bidders for Evonik unit: sources

By Frank Siebelt and Matthias Inverardi

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Financial investors Triton Capital and Rhone Group remain the sole bidders for the Carbon Black unit of unlisted German chemical maker Evonik, two people familiar with the transaction told Reuters.

The deal is expected to be signed within the next ten days and will probably value the unit at about 1 billion euros ($1.42 billion) including assumed debt, the sources also said on Tuesday

Evonik and Rhone declined to comment. Triton was not immediately available for comment.

The financing of Carbon Black acquisition is set to follow a recent trend of using high-yield bonds rather than loans in leveraged buyouts, sources close to the deal told Reuters last month.

Carbon black was originally derived from soot, and more than 60 percent of world’s production is used to make tires more durable. It is also used for laser printers and photocopier toners.

Market researcher Freedonia expects the global carbon black market to rise 4.3 percent per year until 2013, driven mainly by tire demand in Asia.

Evonik, which said last year that it has hired an investment bank to manage the sale of the unit, has said it plans to use the proceeds to expand its core specialty chemicals business.

Evonik is majority owned by a government-controlled trust that bears the long-term liabilities of Germany’s wound-down coal mining industry.

Private equity firm CVC Capital Partners bought a 25 percent stake in Evonik in 2008.

($1=.7050 Euro)

(Additional reporting by Ludwig Burger and Philipp Halstrick; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)

Triton, Rhone sole bidders for Evonik unit: sources