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Schneider Said to Plan Revival of $1.3 Billion Sensors Sale

Schneider Electric SA, the French maker of low- and medium-voltage equipment, is set to revive a sale of its sensors unit after halting the plan last year amid the European debt crisis, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Schneider plans to send information about the sale process to potential bidders early June, said the people, who declined to be identified because the process is private. Interested buyers for the Custom Sensors & Technologies unit include buyout firm TPG Capital LP, Carlyle Group LP, Advent International Corp., PAI Partners SAS and Cinven Ltd., they said. The division may fetch more than 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion), they said.

Schneider, based near Paris, last year suspended a plan to sell the asset because a lack of debt financing would have diminished potential offers, the people said. Schneider first considered a sale of the division before the 2008 global recession, people familiar with the plan said last year.

A spokesman for Schneider declined to comment. Representatives of Advent, PAI, Carlyle, TPG and Cinven declined to comment.

CST, based in Moorpark, California, makes sensors that react to changes in pressure or temperature and are used in the automotive and aeronautics industries. The unit, created through acquisitions in the last decade, employs about 4,700 people and had $660 million in revenue last year, according to its website.

In 2010, the last year for which Schneider published separate earnings number for CST before folding it into its industry unit, CST had an operating margin before one-off items of 16.4 percent on 433 million euros of sales.

In 2005, Schneider bought the sensor maker BEI Technologies Inc. for $562 million, a year after purchasing Solectron Corp.’s Kavlico unit, which makes measurement and control systems. It bought French sensor maker Crouzet in 2000.

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