Bloomberg News

TFL Creditors to Proceed With Sale of Company From January

December 15, 2011

(Adds estimate on company valuation in fourth paragraph.)

Dec. 15 (Bloomberg) -- TFL Holding GmbH’s creditors plan to begin seeking bids for the leather-chemicals supplier from early next year, according to the trustee overseeing the sale.

Creditors of the company and adviser Leonardo & Co. will begin the auction in January, according to lawyer Andreas Ziegenhagen.

Efforts to consolidate among European suppliers of leather chemicals have been hampered by low valuations. BASF SE abandoned the sale of its leather and textile unit in March after offers fell short of the company’s valuation. Competition from low-cost producers in Asia is coinciding with a slowdown in demand in some markets for leather bags and shoes.

TFL has attracted interest from financial sponsors and difficulty in raising debt may lead to bids of less than 200 million euros ($260 million) if markets don’t improve, said a person familiar with the transaction, who declined to be named because the information isn’t public.

Leonardo already sent out a memo detailing the forthcoming auction of TFL, which stands for Together For Leather. The supplier of chemicals for car leather and handbags is being sold on behalf of creditors seeking debt repayments taken on under the ownership of private equity firm Odewald & Cie.

Other leather-chemical makers in Europe include Clariant AG, Lanxess AG and Stahl, owned by French buyout firm Wendel SA. Lanxess, which in July started work on a 30 million-euro leather chemicals plant in Changzhou, China, is an unlikely buyer now as it already has had ample opportunity to target TFL, two people said.

TFL, based in Weil am Rhein, is suffering after Odewald saddled it with 65 million euros in debt, leading the company to break covenants in 2008, two people familiar with the matter said in September. Odewald bought TFL, which has annual sales of about 240 million euros, from Permira Advisers LLP in 2003 for an undisclosed price.

--Editors: Andrew Noel, Tom Lavell

To contact the reporters on this story: Sheenagh Matthews in Frankfurt at smatthews6@bloomberg.net; Andrew Noel in London at anoel@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at bkammel@bloomberg.net


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