Carlyle prepares exit from Avio

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Carlyle Group has issued a request for advisers and co-ordinators for an initial public offering of shares in Italian aircraft engine maker Avio. The letter was addressed to 10 Italian and foreign merchant banks, including Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Lehman Brothers, Mediobanca and Morgan Stanley – answers are expected this week. Carlyle is expected to sharply reduce its share in Avio with the flotation, leaving Finmeccanica as majority shareholder. Carlyle bought its stake in Avio from Fiat in 2003, for around €1.6 billion ($1.9 billion). The EJ200-powered Eurofighter Typhoon fleet is increasing in numbers, giving Avio part production work for the entire European fleet, plus assembly and maintenance activities for the Italian air force engines. Recently, Avio also took over 80% of the aviation business of the Dutch Philips Aerospace company, with an option to acquire the remaining 20%, while earlier last year it also invested in Poland’s Avio Polska. Carlyle owns 70% of the company, the remainder is owned by Finmeccanica.