March 28, 2017 / 1:29 PM / a year ago

REFILE-CVC launches sale of metering group Ista - sources

(Refiles to fix typographical error in 9th paragraph)

FRANKFURT, March 28 (Reuters) - Buyout group CVC is launching the sale of German metering group Ista, a deal potentially worth up to 4 billion euros ($4.3 billion), people close to the matter said.

The investor plans to send out first information packets on the company around Easter, setting in motion what could become Germany’s largest sale of a private equity portfolio company this year, they added.

Pension funds, insurers and infrastructure investors are expected to show interest in the group, they said, adding that bidders were likely to form consortia given the size of the asset.

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, which already owns a minority stake in Ista, is tying up with Borealis to make a bid, while Allianz, the Government of Singapore Investment Corp and Ontario Teachers Pension Plan, are also likely to show interest, they added.

Ista posted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of 364 million euros on sales of 843 million in the 12 months through end-September 2016.

It is expected to reap a valuation of more 10 times its 2017 expected core earnings, the sources said.

CVC and its sell-side advisor Goldman Sachs declined to comment. The prospective bidders also declined to comment or were not immediately available for comment.

Before placing bids, potential buyers are awaiting a sector analysis on the metering industry by Germany’s competition authority, which is expected to be published at the end of April, the sources said.

However, the report is not expected to challenge Ista’s business model, they added. The cartel office declined to comment.

The bidders will also weigh potential bids against the possibility of an investment in Ista peer Techem, which Australian infrastructure investor Macquarie is expected to put on the market at the end of the year, the sources said.

$1 = 0.9210 euros Reporting by Arno Schuetze and Alexander Hübner; Editing by Maria Sheahan

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