(Reuters) – Germany’s Linde is launching the sale of its temperature-controlled logistics unit Gist in a deal potentially worth more than $875 million, as it streamlines its operations to focus on its core industrial gases operations, two people familiar with the matter said.
Linde has mandated Morgan Stanley to find a buyer for the unit with 570 million euros ($618 million) in 2014 sales and is planning to send out first information packages to prospective bidders by the end of the month, they said.
Linde and Morgan Stanley declined to comment.
Linde had earmarked Gist for sale in March last year, when Chief Executive Wolfgang Buechele had said that the unit, which delivers cooled food and beverages mainly in the United Kingdom, was no longer considered “core business”.
The company is expected to shop Gist to logistics players such as Deutsche Post, UPS, Kuehne+Nagel, Logwin, Imperial as well as private equity groups.
One of the sources said that Linde is hoping to reap a price above 600 million British pounds ($875 million).
The logistics sector has been very active in the last year. FedEx’s purchase of Dutch package delivery firm TNT Express for 4.4 billion euros grabbed headlines in April.
Separately, XPO Logistics announced it will acquire France’s Norbert Dentressangle, French rail company SNCF’s subsidiary Geodis acquired Ozburn-Hessey Logistics and Denmark’s DSV Group agreed to acquire UTi Worldwide.
Tentative bids for Gist, whose key customers include British retailer Marks and Spencer, are due in the first quarter, the sources said.
By Arno Schuetze abd Emiliano Mellino (additional reporting by Alexander Hübner; Editing by Katharine Houreld)
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