ZURICH/FRANKFURT, July 14 (Reuters) - Swiss technology group OC Oerlikon is launching the sale of its vacuum pumps unit as it streamlines its portfolio following the takeover of the coatings unit Metco from peer Sulzer in 2014, three people familiar with the transaction said.
Oerlikon has asked Deutsche Bank to find a buyer for the unit which makes technology for the generation of vacuum and for gas management engineering.
Oerlikon and Deutsche Bank declined to comment.
The Vacuum division, which last year posted annual earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of 41 million Swiss Francs ($43 million) on sales of 390 million francs may be valued at 350-400 million in a potential sale, the people said.
That would be in line with the valuation of listed peers, which trade at multiples of 8-9 times their expected core earnings.
Oerlikon will likely shop its vacuum technology to competitors like MKS Instruments or Edwards Vacuum, while Germany's Pfeiffer Vacuum is unlikely to show interest due to potential antitrust issues, the people said.
Private equity groups will also be addressed in the auction, especially investors who participated in the auction for vacuum technology group VAT, which was acquired by buyout groups Capvis und Partners Group in 2013.
At the time, financial investors like Advent, Bain, Montagu and Gilde had looked at the asset.
The Oerlikon Vacuum unit's main brand is Leybold, a business which Oerlikon bought in 1994 from Germany's Degussa. It merged Leybold with its Balzers unit, creating one of the world's largest vacuum technology groups .
Leybold traces its roots to 1850, when Ernst Leybold founded a company for pharmaceutical and technical devices. ($1 = 0.9494 Swiss francs) (Reporting by Oliver Hirt, Arno Schuetze and Freya Berry)