(Adds that Morgan Stanley declined to comment in the last paragraph)
By Guillermo Parra-Bernal and Tatiana Bautzer
SAO PAULO, Aug 29 (Reuters) - Buyout firm Advent International Corp has hired Morgan Stanley & Co and Grupo BTG Pactual SA to advise on the sale of a controlling stake in TCP Terminal de Contêineres de Paranaguá SA, Brazil’s second-busiest container port, according to two people with direct knowledge of the plans.
Earlier this year, Boston-based Advent had announced plans to sell the 50 percent stake it has in TCP, which can handle about 1.5 million tonnes of cargo containers annually. BTG Pactual joined Morgan Stanley as advisor to Advent at the start of July, the people said.
The sources, who spoke with Reuters in recent days, asked for anonymity because the plan remained confidential.
According to one of the people, Advent wants to fetch a price for the stake that values TCP around at least 3.5 billion reais ($1.1 billion.) The other person said other Advent partners in TCP, which include three Brazilian investment firms and Spanish companies Group Maritim TCB SL and Galigrain SA, could join the sale.
The people declined to elaborate further on a timetable for the deal or name potential bidders. The second person said three Asian port operators, two of which are China-based, have shown preliminary interest in TCP.
The transaction could also include a potential fundraising effort by TCP, possibly through the sale of notes in the domestic debt markets, the second person said. Advent paid about $500 million for the TCP stake five years ago.
The TCP stake sale has failed to gain traction rapidly, as potential buyers monitor developments in Brazil, which is struggling with the harshest recession in eight decades and political turmoil, the people said.
Steelmaker Cia Siderúrgica Nacional SA’s planned sale of container terminal operator Sepetiba Tecon SA has also been slow, even as a number of bidders - including Advent - have shown interest.
TCP, Advent and the port operator’s other shareholders declined to comment, as did BTG Pactual and Morgan Stanley.
$1 = 3.2433 Brazilian reais Editing by David Gregorio and Alan Crosby