Schmolz+Bickenbach nears sale of distribution unit (US)

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Swiss steel group Schmolz+Bickenbach is nearing the sale of some distribution activities as it aims to focus on stainless steels production, a source familiar with the deal said. Schmolz+Bickenbach has entered exclusive talks with France’s Jacquet Metal Service, which is planning to take on Schmolz’s distribution activities in Germany, Austria and the Benelux countries for less than 100 million euros ($105 million), the source said. “The signing will likely take place later this month,” the source said. On Thursday, Schmolz+Bickenbach announced that it had resumed discussions on the sale of the business. The activities that Schmolz+Bickenbach is seeking to divest have sales of 600 million euros and employ roughly 1000 staff. The deal will make Jacquet the leading European trader of special steels for machine tool makers and the automotive industry. Jacquet has been an acquisitive company in recent years, buying significantly larger peer IMS in a headline-grabbing, initially hostile deal in 2010. It added smaller companies fromGermany and Canada in 2013 and 2014. Schmolz+Bickenbach has also grown fast through a number of acquisitions over the last decade and has changed its profile from being a steel processor and trader to producing stainless steels. Selling the low-margin business will improve the profitability of the whole group. Schmolz+Bickenbach and Jacquet Metal Service were not available for immediate comment. Rothschild, which is advising Jacquet, declined to comment as did Lazard, which is advising Schmolz+Bickenbach.

Source :

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/15/schmolzbickenbach-ma-idUSL6N0WH0F320150315

Posted in Strategy.

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