FRANKFURT German 3D printing group Concept Laser has been put up for sale by its founder as he wants to benefit from a boom in demand for the technology, which has been the subject of a flurry of deals, people familiar with the matter said.
Chief Executive Frank Herzog, who founded Concept Laser in 2000, has mandated advisory boutique PJT to find a buyer, the sources said.
3D printing has been used to build prototypes for decades but has begun to catch on in industrial mass production in recent years for products such as dental crowns, medical implants and light aircraft parts.
General Electric on Tuesday unveiled plans to buy two of the world's top makers of metal-based 3D printing machines - Sweden's Arcam and Germany's SLM Solutions - for a total of $1.4 billion.
But this could bode ill for the potential Concept Laser sale, one of the people said, as potential buyers might be discouraged from taking on GE.
"GE has bought up most of the competitors. How are you going to survive against GE in the long term?" the person said.
After sending out information to prospective buyers, the management is presenting the company to rivals from Asia and Europe, including Switzerland's Oerlikon, as well as private equity groups such as EQT, Advent and KKR, the people said, adding that GE has not joined the fray.
Concept Laser is expected to post earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation of about 25 million euros ($28 million) this year and 40 million euros next year.
Bids, which are due next month, are expected to value the company at more than 20 times its expected 2016 earnings, or more than 500 million euros, the people familiar with the matter said.
Concept Laser, PJT and the potential bidders declined to comment, or were not immediately available for comment.
($1 = 0.8956 euros)
(Editing by Ludwig Burger and David Clarke)