Carlyle Buying Neochimiki

LONDON (Reuters) – Private equity firm Carlyle Group [CYL.UL] said on Friday it would take over Greek chemical firm Neochimiki NHCr.AT for 19 euros ($29.37) a share and help the company expand internationally.

Carlyle has bought 73.54 percent of Neochimiki for 19 euros a share in block trades over the Athens Stock Exchange and will launch a mandatory offer for the rest of the company at the same price.

It said 20 percent of the shares were bought from Lavrentis Lavrentiadis, former Chariman, CEO and son of the founder of Neochimiki.

The transaction implies an enterprise value of 749 million euros for the company, which is expanding its chemicals distribution and production business into the Balkan region.

“This is Carlyle's first investment in a Greek company and reflects our confidence in the country's strong economic growth prospects as well as Greece's position as a gateway to investment in Eastern Europe,” Carlyle Managing Director Robert Eastern said.

Banks have stopped lending money for large leveraged buyouts, leaving private equity firms to focus on mid-market deals and opportunities in emerging markets.

Carlyle already has investments in the chemicals sector, including AZ Electronic Materials and H.C. Starck.

A consortium of international and Greek financial institutions will provide financing for the buyout, Carlyle said, without giving further details. (Reporting by Eleanor Wason; Editing by David Cowell)