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Kion Aims for 2013 IPO as KKR, Goldman Sachs Monitor Markets

Kion Group GmbH said it’s considering an initial public offering this year, the first time the world’s second-largest maker of forklifts publicly confirmed plans to list in 2013.

The company and its shareholders KKR & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., are “actively monitoring the capital markets to decide on the timing of any potential transaction,” company spokesman Michael Hauger said in an e-mailed statement today. Kion hasn’t yet decided on the final timing, he said, adding that an IPO would help to “continue its profitable growth path and support its future strategic development.”

Kion was part of German industrial-gas maker Linde AG before a 4-billion euro ($5.2 billion) buyout in 2006. Sales increased 8.2 percent to 4.7 billion euros last year even as global demand for industrial trucks dropped by 3.1 percent, as the company benefited from orders in China, where Kion is the largest overseas forklift-maker.

KKR and Goldman Sachs have already lined up banks to handle the planned initial public offering of Kion, people with knowledge of the matter said this week.

Morgan Stanley was added to the list of financial institutions that already includes owners Goldman Sachs and KKR’s equity capital markets arm as well as Deutsche Bank AG, said the people. The IPO will probably happen before July if markets remain stable and Wiesbaden, Germany-based Kion may sell as much as 25 percent of its stock, they said.

KKR and Goldman sold 25 percent of Kion to Weichai Power Co., China’s biggest maker of heavy-duty trucks, in August to help trim debt. Kion also sold 70 percent of its hydraulics unit to the Chinese firm. The moves brought Kion 738 million euros in investment from Weichai.

The company’s value could be about 4.7 billion euros, according to Bloomberg calculations based on the 467 million euros Weichai paid for a quarter of the company in addition to the pension liabilities and debt stated in the 2012 annual report.

Kion trails Toyota Industries Corp., an affiliate of Toyota Motor Corp., in the global forklift market.

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