Cinven may sell French medical diagnostics company Sebia for €1 bn

European private equity firm Cinven is looking to sell French medical diagnostics company Sebia SA in a deal that may fetch it around €1 billion ($1.38 billion), the Financial Times yesterday reported, citing two unnamed people with knowledge of the plan.

The London-based buyout group had acquired Sebia in 2010 from Montagu Private Equity, the former buy-out arm of HSBC, for €800 million.

Founded in1967, Sebia is an oncology-focused diagnostic company with a strong electrophoresis technology platform, a specialised segment of in-vitro diagnostics that allows doctors to test blood and other human serums for the presence of cancer.

It also specialises in other tests, including haemoglobin, immuno-typing and quantification of the CDT (detection and monitoring of the alcoholism).

It holds a 65-per cent share of the global electrophoresis multiple myeloma testing market and a near 70 per cent share in the number of tests performed in its top four countries – the US, Italy, France and Germany.

Sebia, which has its manufacturing operations and headquarters at Lisses, the outskirts of Paris, operates in over 110 countries globally and employs just over 400 worldwide.

Over the last five years, Sebia's revenues have grown by 11 per cent annually to reach €147million in 2012.

In recent months PE groups have been keen to profit from the rising valuations of their portfolios. At the same time other PE groups are finding it difficult to acquire new businesses to their portfolios as investor confidence and rising stock markets have led private equity groups keen to divest, to float their larger portfolio companies, instead of selling them, the report said.

"Private equity groups interested in bidding for the company said they expected stiff competition given the relative lack of new investment opportunities in Europe," the UK newspaper said.