NuCO2 seeks buyer, may fetch over $1 billion: sources

NEW YORK Wed Jan 16, 2013 10:59pm IST

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Beverage carbonation company NuCO2 Inc is exploring a sale and hopes to bring in more than $1 billion, three people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

The Stuart, Florida-based company, owned by private equity firm Aurora Capital Group, has hired Goldman Sachs Group (GS.N) to run an auction, the sources said.

NuCO2 produces beverage-grade carbon dioxide that is added to fountain soda and draught beer, and provides delivery services to national restaurant chains, convenience stores and entertainment locations.

The auction comes five years after Aurora Capital took NuCO2 private for $487 million in 2008. The company withdrew plans for an initial public offering in July 2012, more than two years after it first filed to list its stock.

The people asked not to be named because the process is not public. Aurora Capital had no immediate comment and Goldman Sachs declined to comment.

NuCO2 has roughly $100 million in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) and could command more than 10 times EBITDA, two of the people said, adding that the auction is early in the second round.

NuCO2's fountain beverage equipment and services are used to carbonate fountain beverages at about 145,000 U.S. locations nationwide, according to its website.

(Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis and Soyoung Kim in New York; Editing by Bernard Orr)