Peugeot Citroen in exclusive talks to sell GEFCO stake to Russian Railways

French automaker PSA Peugeot Citroen said on Thursday that it had started exclusive negotiations to offload a 75% stake in its logistics arm GEFCO to Russian railway operator JSC Russian Railways, under a strategic partnership at GEFCO.

Russian Railways will pay EUR800m (USD1.04bn) for the stake, which will be sold after the unit pays to PSA Peugeot Citroen a special dividend of EUR100m.

As a result of the transaction, GEFCO will be able to achieve greater business diversification and raise its turnover, PSA Peugeot Citroen noted. The move will spur GEFCO’s growth in eastern and central Europe, especially in Russia, and will back its expansion plan for China, India and Latin America, the seller said. The unit’s revenue came in at EUR1.88bn in the first half of this year.

PSA Peugeot Citroen said that it and the logistics subsidiary would begin information and consultation procedures with their works councils on the deal, which will also need antitrust green light.

GEFCO’s headquarters in France as well as its management team will be retained. Luc Nadal will remain at the helm of the company as president.

PSA Peugeot Citroen plunged into a EUR819m net loss, or EUR2.73 per share, between January and June 2012 from a net profit of EUR806m, or EUR3.55 apiece, in the same period of last year.  Its revenues slipped 5.1% to EUR29.55bn.

TPG Capital only bidder left in race for Australian Billabong

Australian surf, skate and snow apparel and accessories retailer Billabong International Ltd (ASX:BBG) on Thursday said US private equity firm TPG Capital had remained the sole bidder in its formal sale process after an unnamed second party had dropped out of the race.

Billabong announced on 6 September that an unnamed interested party had approached it with a AUD1.45 (USD1.52/EUR1.16) a share conditional, non-binding takeover proposal, matching the bid received from US private equity firm TPG Capital on 24 July.

Both parties were granted access to due diligence under nondisclosure agreements, Billabong said at the time, without naming the second bidder.
According to sources cited by Bloomberg and Reuters then, the rival suitor was US private equity group Bain Capital LLC which offered AUD694m for the surfwear maker.

None of the two offers reflect the fundamental value of Billabong, its board has said, adding that the best interest of shareholders would be better served by a formal process to evaluate whether it could secure an offer that the board would recommend.

In February, Billabong turned down a takeover offer of AUD3.30 a share, valuing it at AUD851m, from TPG. At the time founder and largest shareholder Gordon Merchant, together with director Colette Paull said they would not accept any offer below AUD4.00 a share.

In its statement from today, Billabong said that its formal sale process continues, with no guarantees that a deal will be reached.