* Citi hired to find buyer for Schoeller Allibert - sources
* Could be valued at 400-500 mln eur - sources
* Schoeller Allibert owned by JP Morgan, Schoeller family (Adds details on valuation, other pending deals)
By Arno Schuetze
FRANKFURT, Dec 14 (Reuters) - Dutch packaging maker Schoeller Allibert is exploring a sale as its owners seek an exit after reshaping the company, adding to a string of deals in the sector, three people close to the matter said.
Majority owner JP Morgan as well as co-investor Schoeller, a German family, have asked Citi to find a buyer for the maker of plastic boxes, which may be valued at about 400 million to 500 million euros ($426-$532 million), the people said.
Schoeller Allibert was formed from a series of mergers, combining among others Schoeller, the inventor of the plastic beer crate, with peers Allibert and Arca Systems.
The group is expected to post earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of 55 to 60 million euros this year and may be valued at seven to eight times that, the sources said.
JP Morgan has repeatedly had to inject capital into the group. While the bank holds a majority stake in the company, the investment is managed by One Equity Partners, its former private equity arm.
JP Morgan and OEP declined comment, while Citi and the Schoeller family were not available for comment.
Schoeller Allibert is one of several packaging makers on the market.
Private equity-owned French group Albea is expecting final bids before Christmas with British peer RPC seen as leading bidder, while the interest of private equity groups such as Advent and a consortium of PAI and Bain has cooled, sources familiar with that deal said.
U.S. packaging group Westrock’s soap dispensers and perfume sprayers unit has attracted private equity interest from investors such as CCMP Capital or Goldman Sachs’ private equity arm, people familiar with that deal said.
The parties involved in these auctions declined to comment or were not immediately available for comment.
$1 = 0.9399 euros Additional reporting by Toby Sterling and Claire Ruckin; Editing by Maria Sheahan and Adrian Croft