UPDATE 2-Philips, Osram lighting bidders to line up this month - sources
* Buyout groups to bid for Philips lamps unit end-Jan - sources
* Mainly Chinese bids for Osram lamps ops seen next week - sources
* Divestments allow groups to focus on core business (Adds valuation, details)
FRANKFURT, Jan 8 (Reuters) - Companies interested in lighting assets will be able to bid for top European brands Philips and Osram in two separate auctions starting this month, industry sources on Friday.
The divestments will allow Philips and Osram to focus on their core businesses and draw a line under businesses they view as having a low growth potential and shrinking margins.
Potential strategic buyers, mainly from China, hope the brand names and distribution networks will help sell their own products globally, while private equity players may restructure the businesses and sell them later.
Dutch technology group Philips has put its lighting arm -- the world's largest maker of lights -- on the block.
While Philips has not yet decided whether to list the lighting business on the stock exchange or outright sell it, it has asked for tentative bids for the unit, which may be valued at roughly 4-6 billion euros ($4.36-6.53 bln), by the end of January, people familiar with the deal said.
Private equity groups will likely value the business at 7-8 times its expected core earnings, the sources said. Continued...