KKR Said to Plan BIS Industries Initial Public Offer This Year

KKR & Co., the private equity firm run by Henry Kravis and George Roberts, is preparing an initial public offering of BIS Industries Ltd. in Australia, said two people with knowledge of the matter.

The company’s advisers will begin meeting potential investors this week to gauge demand for an IPO this year that may raise as much as A$500 million ($474 million), said the people, asking not to be identified as the details are private. BIS, a provider of logistics services for the mining industry, will use the money to repay debt and fund expansion, they said.

KKR, the most active acquirer globally during the buyout boom from 2005 to 2007, joins private equity firms including Apollo Global Management LLC and Pacific Equity Partners in preparing IPOs for Australian holdings. About a dozen companies plan to list on the nation’s exchange by year-end as business confidence surges, Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s executive director of capital markets Mike Neal said last month.

KKR plans to retain a stake in BIS, the people said. The Australian Financial Review reported on the IPO earlier today.

New York-based KKR used debt to buy Brambles Industrial Services and Cleanaway from Brambles Ltd. in June 2006, according to the company’s website. The following year, KKR sold the Cleanaway waste disposal business and the remaining assets, including coal handling and haulage, steel processing and storage, logistics and distribution services, were renamed BIS Industries.

KKR in May sold its 12 percent stake in Australia’s largest free-to-air broadcaster Seven West Media Ltd. for A$261 million, ending an investment that began in 2006. UBS AG, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Bank of America Corp. are advising BIS on the share sale, the people said.

Apollo and Oaktree Capital Group LLC are among funds seeking as much as A$697.3 million in an IPO of Nine Entertainment Co., Australia’s largest first-time share sale in almost three years. Sydney-based Pacific Equity Partners’s Veda credit reporting and data business is seeking to raise A$340 million in an IPO later this year, people familiar with the matter said last month.

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