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Asia Expansion Adviser DKSH Considers Initial Public Offering

DKSH Holding Ltd., a Swiss company that helps businesses expand in Asia, said it may hold an initial public offering as clients seek new markets.

Closely held DKSH, which has advised Energizer Holdings Inc. in expanding throughout Asia and helped Nestle SA sell more Kit Kat bars in Thailand, “sporadically” considers options such as a stock sale, Martina Ludescher, a spokeswoman, said by phone today from Zurich, where the company is based.

DKSH offers sourcing, marketing, distribution and after-sales services. It was formed in 2002 through the merger of Diethelm Keller Services Asia Ltd. and SiberHegner Holding Ltd. The company operates in 35 countries, focusing on southeast Asia, China and Japan, and has benefited as businesses install machinery in Asia to make products and seek new markets for consumer goods and pharmaceuticals.

DKSH won a contract from French drugmaker Sanofi last month to help distribute and promote 34 brands in Laos, and it’s helping toymaker Hasbro Inc. with warehousing in Taiwan. Last year, the company bought a majority stake in the Swiss watch brand Maurice Lacroix to tap rising sales of timepieces in Asia.

Profit after taxes rose 42 percent to 121 million Swiss francs ($132 million) in 2010 as revenue gained 15 percent to 7.29 billion francs, according to the company’s website. DKSH, which hasn’t released 2011 results yet, says it’s the largest closely held company in Switzerland.

The company has been a bridge from Europe to Asia since the 19th century, when three Swiss entrepreneurs sailed to Asia seeking business opportunities, according to DKSH’s annual report.

DKSH is preparing an IPO and UBS AG is the lead bank, Tages-Anzeiger reported today, without saying where it got the information.

DKSH Chief Executive Officer Joerg Wolle was on the board of UBS from 2006 to 2009.

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