Carlyle Group is 'number one bidder' to buy £300m Survitec from Montagu

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The Independent Online

US private-equity giant The Carlyle Group has emerged as a front-runner for Survitec, the Northern Ireland-based survival equipment manufacturer.

Owner Montagu Private Equity is running a second round of bids believed to have come from about six parties. "Carlyle is seen to be the number one bidder," said an industry source.

Montagu is thought to be looking to get £300m from the sale, arranged by investment bank NM Rothschild. Survitec was previously owned by another private equity group, Alchemy Partners. Montagu snapped up Survitec in a £146m deal five years ago. It is also selling British Car Auctions (BCA), the second-hand vehicle dealership, for £600m. Montagu paid £450m in 2006, and BCA's pre-tax profit increased 15 per cent to £42.5m in 2007.

Montagu, most famous for its investment in waste management business Biffa, is working on plans to raise a €2bn (£1.8bn) fund for further investments, and last month agreed to buy ADB Airfield Solutions from Siemens.