Total Shortlist for Atotech Bidders Said to Include Carlyle, CVC

  • Cinven has joined with BC Partners to submit a joint offer
  • Sale could fetch over $3 billion with winner chosen in Sept.

Total SA has drawn up a shortlist of bidders for its electronic-materials business Atotech, and may choose a winner by the end of the month, according to people with knowledge of the situation.

CVC Capital Partners is competing against Carlyle Group LP and a joint bid from Cinven Ltd. and BC Partners, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. The asset may fetch more than $3 billion, one of the people said. Total is working with advisers at Barclays Plc on the sale, one of the people said.

Total Chief Executive Officer Patrick Pouyanne has gradually exited chemical businesses to focus on oil and gas, as well as renewable energy supplies. While in the past Total has sold businesses directly to its spinoff Arkema SA, this time the company marketed Atotech to a broader group of both buyout firms and strategic bidders.

Representatives for Barclays, Carlyle, Cinven and BC Partners declined to comment. Representatives for Total and CVC didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment.

Earlier bidding rounds attracted Belgian specialty chemicals maker Umicore SA and China’s Sinochem Group, which both later dropped out, easing pressure on bidding multiples, said two of the people.

Atotech, led by Reinhard Schneider, is attractive to private equity due to its resilient earnings from selling equipment, such as spray booths, as well as from long-term supply agreements for specialty chemicals. Its business model may make it more of a challenge for some strategic bidders looking to fully integrate the asset as it’s not a perfect fit with their own operations.

Carlyle’s interest in Atotech follows its investment in AZ Electronic Materials, which it bought in 2004 and exited in 2012. The buyout firm gained additional experience in electronic materials supplied to flat panels and semiconductors through other investments including Jazz Semiconductor Inc. and CPU Technology, according to its website.