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Indonesian Tycoons Battling to Buy Us$3bil Tissue Brand Vinda

Two Indonesian tycoon families are battling it out to gain a stake in one of China’s top tissue brands.

Asia Pulp & Paper Co., an arm of the late billionaire Eka Tjipta Widjaja clan’s Sinar Mas Group, recently made a preliminary proposal to buy a significant holding in Vinda International Holdings Ltd., Bloomberg News reported last week. It’s in talks with lenders to finance the potential purchase and has offered to buy a Vinda stake at more than HK$20 per share, according to the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private.

APP, one of the world’s biggest pulp producers and also sells tissues in China under brands such as Breeze and Virjoy, faces competition from Indonesian businessman Sukanto Tanoto’s RGE Pte, which has operations spanning palm oil to energy. RGE, which also runs a pulp and paper business, has been working on a potential offer for a controlling stake in Vinda, Bloomberg News reported last month. It’s already working to get the upper hand, with the daughter of RGE’s founder building a 7% interest in Vinda in recent weeks.

They’re competing to buy shares from Vinda’s majority owner, Swedish personal care product maker Essity AB, which said in April its holding is under strategic review. Vinda has a market value of about $2.9 billion in Hong Kong and sells tissues under brands including Tempo and Tork. It also makes products for feminine care, baby care and incontinence.

Essity’s stake has also attracted initial interest from Brazilian Suzano SA, as well as buyout firms including Bain Capital, CVC Capital Partners and DCP Capital, people familiar with the matter have said.

There are no certain that any of the parties including APP and RGE will proceeding with binding offers. Any new major shareholder will also have to work closely with Vinda’s founder Li Chaowang, who owns about 21%.

Source: The Star