(Adds dropped word "billion" in first sentence)
TOKYO, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Japan's Hitachi Ltd has narrowed suitors for its $6.8 billion chemical unit to a handful of companies including Bain Capital, Japan Industrial Partners and Nitto Denko Corp, four people with knowledge of the deal said.
Shortlisted bidders for Hitachi Chemical Co also include U.S. private equity fund Carlyle Group L.P., three of the people said. Bain, the U.S. buyout fund, is teaming up with Tokyo-based private equity firm Japan Industrial Partners, the three said.
The companies have been asked to submit offers by next month for the second round of bidding, two of them said. The list will be narrowed down to two bidders by the end of the year, with the winning bid selected in the new year, one person.
All of the people spoke on the condition of anonymity because the information has not been made public.
Hitachi, Hitachi Chemical, Bain, Japan Industrial Partners, Nitto Denko and Carlyle all declined to comment.
The sale of Hitachi Chemical is part of Hitachi's efforts to reorganise of its businesses. In a move rare for Japan's conglomerates, the company has been selling of non-core assets while buying foreign businesses to expand overseas.
The spin-off also marks another opportunity for global private equity firms, which have been boosting their efforts in Japan.
Hitachi owns 51.2% of Hitachi Chemical. The chemical maker had a market value of 733 billion yen ($6.8 billion) based on Friday's closing price of 3,520 yen a share.
$1 = 107.9600 yen Reporting by Junko Fujita and Takaya Yamaguchi; additional reporting by Noriyuki Hirata; Editing by David Dolan