China Merchants Is Said to Weigh Sale of $1 Billion Loscam

(Bloomberg) -- State-owned China Merchants Group is considering a sale of pallet maker Loscam amid interest from investors including Asian buyout firms, people familiar with the matter said.

The Hong Kong-based conglomerate is working with financial advisers on the potential divestment of a majority stake in Loscam, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. A deal could value the business at about $1 billion, said the people.

China Merchants Group, which runs businesses spanning ports, toll roads, shipping and financial services, acquired Loscam from Affinity Equity Partners in 2010. Any deal for the pallet maker would add to the $675 billion of announced acquisitions of Asia-Pacific companies this year, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Talks with potential buyers are ongoing and may not result in a deal, the people said. China Merchants Group didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Loscam, founded in Australia in 1942, makes wood and plastic pallets used to transport goods. It also produces cages for high-value freight, as well as fresh produce crates and bulk containers. Loscam operates in markets including Australia, China, New Zealand, Taiwan as well as Southeast Asian nations, according to its website.

Its competitors in Asia Pacific include Sydney-based pallet supplier Brambles Ltd., which operates in more than 60 countries and has a market value of about A$17 billion ($12 billion).

China Merchants, founded in 1872, had 7.3 trillion yuan ($1.1 trillion) of assets at the end of last year, the most among the country’s state-owned enterprises, according to its website. The group’s 2017 profit rose 14 percent year on year to 127.7 billion yuan.

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