Itochu eyes sale of building materials distributor PrimeSource-sources

Wed Nov 19, 2014 5:10pm EST
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By Greg Roumeliotis

Nov 19 (Reuters) - Japanese trading house Itochu Corp , is seeking to sell PrimeSource Building Products Inc, the largest distributor of screws and nails in the United States, for more than $1 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.

Itochu has hired JPMorgan Chase & Co to run an auction for PrimeSource, which has attracted interest from private equity firms, the people said this week.

PrimeSource has annual earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA, of around $100 million, the people added, asking not to be identified because the sale process is confidential.

Representatives for Itochu and PrimeSource did not respond to requests for comment, while JPMorgan declined to comment.

Based in Irving, Texas, PrimeSource distributes building materials for the residential, commercial and industrial construction markets. It has 42 distribution centers throughout the United States and Canada and more than 1,200 employees.

Itochu acquired PrimeSource in 1998. The Tokyo-based company also owns a Japanese building materials business called Itochu Kenzai Corp.

Earlier this month, Itochu stuck to its annual net profit forecast of 300 billion yen ($2.63 billion), although it slashed the forecast for its metals business by 28 percent due to a slump in iron ore and coal prices. (Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)