Three PE firms submit final bids for DuPont's vehicle paint unit: report

DuPont Co has received three final bids in an auction for its vehicle paint unit that may fetch the US chemical giant around $3.5 billion, Reuters yesterday reported, citing two people familiar with the matter.

Private equity firms Carlyle Group, Apollo Global Management, and a consortium of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co and Onex Corp had submitted final bids last Friday, while, Blackstone Group and Bain Capital have dropped out, the sources told the news agency.

The Wilmington, Delaware-based company had in October 2011 started working towards the divestment of its performance coatings' division and in February this year hired Credit Suisse as adviser and Greenhill & Co to handle the sale.

DuPont had in late February started preliminary auction process for sale, and in April asked private equity firms that had placed bids to team up and make new offers after initial bids did not meet its expectations. 

The private equity groups had earlier held talks with the management of DuPont and raised concerns about the earnings assumptions made by the company for the business, as well the steady decline of volumes of selling paint to auto body shops.

The performance coatings division, including the powder-coating unit, which has clients like Ford Motors and General Motors, had revenues of $3.8 billion in 2010 and net income of $255 million.