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German lens maker Rodenstock prepped for 1.5 bln euro sale - sources

FRANKFURT, Feb 3 (Reuters) - German ophthalmic lens and eyewear maker Rodenstock is being prepared for sale by its private equity owner in a potential 1.5 billion euro ($1.8 billion) deal, two people close to the matter told Reuters.

Compass Partners, which is working with investment bank Jefferies on the divestiture, is expected to send out initial information packs on the company in coming weeks with an auction to kick off as early as after Easter, they said.

Rodenstock could be valued at 1.5-1.7 billion euros, or more than 13 times its expected 2021 earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of 115-130 million euros, one of the sources said.

Compass Partners, Rodenstock and Jefferies declined to comment.

Rodenstock competes with companies like France-based EssilorLuxottica and Japan’s Hoya. Possible buyers include strategic as well as private equity bidders, the sources said.

Last year, the company received a 75-million-euro capital injection from its owners to cope with a sales slump during the coronavirus pandemic, after it had posted 2019 core earnings of 103 million on sales of 450 million euros.

Revenues then recovered faster than expected on strong demand for its high quality progressive-addition lenses, Rodenstock said in June.

The company, which also makes spectacle frames and equipment for opticians, was founded in Munich in 1877 and employs 4,900 staff.

Following financial difficulties, Rodenstock’s family owners sold the company to buyout fund Permira in 2003, who passed it on to Bridgepoint in 2006. Compass acquired a majority in Rodenstock in 2016 and two years later took full control.

Compass had initially planned to launch a sales process in 2020, but did not pursue the plan as the pandemic dented Rodenstock’s sales.

$1 = 0.8322 euros Reporting by Arno Schuetze; Editing by Pravin Char

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