(Adds Emerson’s comment)
By Gilles Guillaume and Arno Schuetze
PARIS, June 3 (Reuters) - China’s Wolong Electric , Japan’s Nidec and other Asian firms are seen as possible buyers of U.S. automation equipment maker Emerson Electric’s alternator unit Leroy Somer, two sources with knowledge of the situation told Reuters.
Other potential buyers could include sector peers such as Brazil’s WEG, U.S.-based Regal Beloit and Chinese groups Shanghai Electric and Harbin Electric , the sources said.
The sources said Emerson hopes to sell France-based Leroy Somer to an Asian company as it expects Asian firms will be willing to offer a higher price than investment funds or European and US industry peers.
“Emerson has received interest and is in discussion with several well-qualified, global industrial companies. We expect to have more to say in coming months,” a spokesman said in an email.
“Only if they’re unable to find that sort of Chinese player will they open up the auction to European strategic (partners) or to private equity,” one of the sources said.
The second source said that several private equity funds have looked at Leroy Somer but none got access to the company’s data room.
In April, Emerson - which wants to focus on process automation as well as heating and air conditioning - launched the sale of its Motors and Drives unit, made up mainly of Leroy Somer and which could be valued at up to $800 million.
Leroy Somer, which sells sophisticated alternators for the industry and the military, is one of the unit’s most important assets.
The two sources also said that given Leroy Somer’s exposure to military activities, the French government may need to give its green light before any deal can be completed. (Writing by Matthias Blamont; Editing by Geert De Clercq)