Bayer has appointed investment bank Rothschild to advise on the German drugmaker's plan to list its plastics business, in a deal that could value the unit at about 10 billion euros ($13 bln), sources familiar with the situation said.
Bayer's chief executive Marijn Dekkers said last week that the divestment of the MaterialScience unit, which may be rebranded before a listing, will free up money for investment in Bayer's healthcare, veterinary drugs and crop protection businesses.
Rothschild will help to prepare the MaterialScience unit for an initial public offering (IPO) as soon as this time next year or for a spin-off by handing current Bayer shareholders shares in the separate unit, the sources said.
A flotation on the Frankfurt stock exchange may see about a quarter of the shares being listed, one of the people said, adding that a listing in the United States had been discussed but curently seemed rather unlikely despite several peers being based there.
Roughly six months ahead of an IPO Rothschild would help Bayer select two or three global coordinators with large banks such as Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley or Bank of America being well positioned to secure such roles, the sources said.
Bayer also said last week MaterialScience, which has profit margins less than half the average across the Bayer group, would be better placed to obtain funding as an independent company and that an outright sale could not be ruled out if it were to receive an attractive offer.
Investors had long speculated that Bayer could split off MaterialScience, which makes transparent plastics for blu-ray discs and panoramic roofs for luxury cars, as well as chemicals for insulation and padding foams.
Officials at Bayer and Rothschild declined to comment. (1 US dollar = 0.7785 euros) (Editing by Greg Mahlich)