DuPont Co, the world’s second largest chemical company has started the preliminary auction process for sale of its vehicle paint unit , which could fetch more than $4 billion, Reuters reported Friday, citing sources familiar with the matter.
The sources stated that DuPont’s adviser on the agreement, Credit Suisse Group, has sent out financial resources associated to the unit to potentially concerned parties.
Several buyout firms have been preparing for the auction since late last year. Reuters reported in December that KKR & Co , Bain Capital, TPG Capital and Onex Corp had already made inquiries about the sale.
Last week, DuPont Co., the most valuable U.S. chemical maker, posted fourth-quarter profit that exceeded analysts’ estimates as higher prices for titanium-dioxide pigment and other products offset falling sales volumes.
DuPont reported income of $373 million, down from $376 million a year earlier. In both periods, per-share earnings were 40 cents. Excluding special items, earnings in the latest quarter were 35 cents a share.
Sales volumes tumbled 10 percent as DuPont sold less material to solar-panel and auto makers, particularly in Asia and Europe, said Karen Fletcher, a company spokeswoman.