By Pamela Barbaglia, Arno Schuetze and Andrés González
LONDON/FRANKFURT/MADRID (Reuters) – Bridgepoint has been sounding out possible bidders for its Portuguese agrochemical company Rovensa ahead of an auction process early next year that could raise about 800 million euros (£687.26 million), five sources told Reuters.
The European private equity fund has hired HSBC to handle the so-called pre-marketing talks for the Lisbon-based crop protection company which was previously known as Sapec Agro, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Several private equity investors have already come forward for the business which also provides fertilizers such as micronutrients and biostimulants, the sources said.
One of the sources said KKR <KKR.N>, CVC Capital Partners, Bain Capital, Eurazeo, Cinven, Partners Group and Platinum were expected to bid for the company.
Bridgepoint, KKR, Cinven and Partners Group declined to comment while HSBC, CVC, Bain Capital, Eurazeo and Platinum were not immediately available.
Rovensa is also expected to draw interest from industry players, the sources said, given its international presence in more than 70 countries including Portugal and Spain where it ranks as a market leader.
Bridgepoint has received sufficient interest to press ahead with an auction process early next year, the sources said, with one adding confidential information packages could be dispatched as soon as January.
The sale may see Bridgepoint doubling its money in less than four years and pocketing more than 800 million euros from a new investor, the sources said.
Bridgepoint bought Rovensa for 456 million euros in late 2016 and has since then supported its international rollout with deals including last year’s purchase of French company SDP, through its subsidiary Tradecorp.
Its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) are expected to grow from roughly 70 million euros in the last fiscal year to 85 million euros in 2020, two of the sources said, with bidders potentially valuing it at 10-11 times its core earnings.
Bridgepoint typically invests in companies valued up to 1 billion euros.
It raised a 5.8 billion euro fund for European deals in 2017 and recently spent some of this cash to take control of Dutch catering services firm Vermaat and Israeli software testing firm Qualitest.
(Reporting by Pamela Barbaglia in London, Arno Schuetze in Frankfurt and Andres Gonzalez in Madrid; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)