• Investment firm working with Deutsche Bank on options
  • Cyanco makes materials used to separate gold from ore

Oaktree Capital Group LLC, the investment group founded by billionaire Howard Marks, is getting ready to restart a sale process of sodium cyanide maker Cyanco Holding Corp., said people familiar with the matter.

Oaktree is working with Deutsche Bank AG on options for Cyanco, which will likely be sold to a fellow private equity firm, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. A sale, which could value the company at about $1 billion, is planned for the first half of this year, they said.

Oaktree explored selling Cyanco to corporate buyers in June, but abandoned that plan as commodity prices fell, the people said. Cyanco was formed in 2008 when Oaktree bought Nevada Chemicals Inc. and combined it with Evonik Industries AG’s sodium cyanide business in the U.S. and Canada.

Under Oaktree’s ownership Cyanco, which makes the material used to dissolve and separate gold from ore, has added facilities in Texas and Nevada. The company had $287 million in revenue for the 12 months ending Sept. 30, according to Moody’s Investors Service.

Spokeswomen for Oaktree and Deutsche Bank declined to comment. A spokesman for Cyanco did not respond to e-mail requests seeking comment.

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