UPDATE 2-BASF, others, in talks to buy Cognis – sources

* Talks with all parties at early stage – sources

* Sellers want to fetch sale price of at least 3.5 bln eur

* BASF, Goldman Sachs, Permira decline comment
(Adds further details on pricing, analyst comments)

FRANKFURT, April 9 (BestGrowthStock) – The owners of Cognis, the
German maker of additives for cosmetics and detergents, are in
talks with several parties including BASF (BASF.DE: ) to sell it,
two people close to the negotiations said on Friday.

Permira [PERM.UL] and co-owner Goldman Sachs Capital
Partners (GS.N: ), which turned down takeover offers for Cognis
[COGNS.UL] as too low in 2006, aim to fetch a sale price of at
least 3.5 billion euros ($4.68 billion) including debt, one of
the people said.

Cognis had about 2 billion euros of debt at the end of
2009.

The world’s largest chemical maker BASF, Permira and
Goldman Sachs declined to comment. Cognis was not immediately
available for comment.

Talks with all parties are still at an early stage and
could take months to complete, both of the sources said,
without providing details on who other potential buyers are.

UniCredit analysts said buying Cognis would help BASF catch
up to rival Bayer (BAYGn.DE: ) in Germany and compete with Dow
Chemical (DOW.N: ), the No. 2 supplier in the coating industry.

They cited Evonik and Belgian chemical company Solvay
(SOLB.BR: ) as other potential candidates to buy Cognis.

Evonik Chief Executive Klaus Engel has said that he would
look at Monheim, Germany-based Cognis as a matter of routine.
Solvay recently sold its pharmaceutical operations to Abbott
Laboratories (ABT.N: ), leaving it flush with cash.

“In the case of more than one interested party the deal
might be done sooner than later,” they said, adding they see
Cognis’ enterprise value at 2.7-3.0 billion euros.

SALE MORE LIKELY

Financial industry sources had told Reuters on March 16
that Permira and Goldman Sachs were hoping to woo specialty
chemical makers such as Lanxess (LXSG.DE: ) and Evonik [EVON.UL]
to end their troubled investment in Cognis.

Cognis, which is the former unit of glues and detergent
maker Henkel (HNKG_p.DE: ), has negative equity with liabilities
exceeding assets by 793 million euros as of September.

Cognis has also been preparing for an initial public
offering in the second half of this year, but sources said that
an outright sale was now more likely than flotation.

Several buyout firms have been tapping into recovery
appetite for chemical-sector assets in Europe such as chemicals
distributor Brenntag (BNRGn.DE: ), which raised 747.5 million
euros in an IPO last month.

Money

(Reporting by Philipp Halstrick and Frank Siebelt; Writing by
Maria Sheahan, editing by Will Waterman, Bernard Orr)
($1=.7477 Euro)

UPDATE 2-BASF, others, in talks to buy Cognis – sources