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Malaysia’s UMW Said to Consider Offer for Carlyle’s Coates Hire

UMW Holdings Bhd., Malaysia’s biggest carmaker and assembler, is among companies studying bids for Coates Hire Ltd., the Australian equipment rental company part-owned by Carlyle Group LP, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

Offers for Coates Hire, which also counts Seven Group Holdings Ltd.’s National Hire Group Ltd. among shareholders, are due next month, said the people, asking not to be identified as the details are private. The owners, who appointed Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to advise on the sale, are seeking more than A$3 billion ($2.9 billion), a person familiar with the matter said in November.

Washington-based Carlyle and Seven Group, controlled by Australian billionaire Kerry Stokes, both own 46 percent of Sydney-based Coates Hire, which has operations in Australia and Southeast Asia. Coates management holds the rest. S. Vikneshwaran, manager of media relations at UMW in Kuala Lumpur, said he couldn’t immediately comment on its interest.

UMW in August said it expected profit to rise as auto sales climb and its oil and gas unit rebounds after two years of losses. The Australian Financial Review reported on the company’s interest in Coates Hire earlier today, without saying where it got the information.

Carlyle and National Hire agreed to acquire Coates, Australia’s largest equipment hire business, for A$1.7 billion in October 2007.

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