Schenck Process Said to Near Sale as IK Set to Choose Bid

Schenck Process GmbH, a German maker of industrial weighing equipment being sold by IK Investment Partners, may choose a new owner by early August after narrowing the bidders to three buyout firms, according to people familiar with the offer.

Bain Capital LLC, Rhone Capital LLC and Pamplona Capital Management LLP are the remaining bidders, said the people, who asked not to be identified because talks are private. IK Investment, a European buyout firm with Nordic roots, may be seeking between 750 million euros ($908 million) and 850 million euros, the people said.

The sale has been complicated by competing auctions of German mid-size manufacturers including Bartec Holding GmbH, as well as a slowdown in earnings, said the people. Schenck Process, based in Darmstadt, had annual sales of more than 560 million euros and 3,200 employees, according to its website. It provides industrial weighing, feeding, screening and automation equipment for the construction, mining, pharmaceuticals and transport industries.

Spokesmen at IK, Schenck, Bain, Pamplona and Rhone declined to comment on the process.

IK Investment, with offices in London and Stockholm, is also trying to attract interest from companies in Asia and one unidentified strategic buyer may hand in a bid, said two of the people. Morgan Stanley is running the process, the people said.

Pamplona, a London-based private equity firm started by former Alfa Bank Chief Executive Officer Alex Knaster, has made previous investments in Germany, including automotive and truck suppliers SAF-Holland SA and TMD Friction Holdings GmbH. It later sold TMD to Nisshinbo Holdings Inc.

Bain, based in Boston and co-founded by U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney, has invested in German chemicals distributor Brenntag AG. Rhone Capital, based in New York, agreed in 2011 to buy Evonik Industries AG’s carbon black business.

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