American private equity firm KKR has emerged as a frontrunner to buy a large stake in Larsen & Toubro’s industrial valves unit, a source familiar with the matter told TOI. The deal, if closed, will be the latest bet by KKR in the country’s manufacturing and industrial sector after its investment in JBF Industries last year.
L&T Valves, a more than five decade-old-company, clocked revenues of Rs 1,465 crore and profits of Rs 138 crore in fiscal 2016. The unit manufactures industrial valves for key sectors like oil & gas, power and chemicals, among others. Other investors, including London-based private equity fund Actis, have fielded interest in L&T Valves, which has three manufacturing facilities in the country. But KKR is said to be more aggressive. KKR has been working on the deal for the past six months and has had several meetings with the Larsen & Toubro leadership, which is actively working on divesting non-core businesses like valves and hydrocarbons.