Schneider emerges as top bidder for L&T’s electrical unit

Mumbai: Schneider Electric SE, a French multinational specializing in energy management and automation, has emerged as the top bidder to acquire engineering company Larsen and Toubro Ltd’s (L&T’s) electric and automation division, two people familiar with the development said.

Schneider will bring in Singapore government’s investment arm Temasek Holdings to jointly bid for the assets, the cost of which is expected to be in the range Rs15,000 crore or close to $2.31 billion, according to the people mentioned above.

The sale is part of L&T’s ongoing drive to prune its non-core portfolio which saw interest from several potential buyers including strategic ones as well as private equity funds in the initial rounds.

Eventually, only Schneider and Ireland-based power management multinational Eaton Corp. made it to the final bidding rounds, the people mentioned above added.

Spokespersons for Schneider, Eaton, Temasek and L&T declined to comment to emailed queries.

L&T, which has a presence in technology, engineering, construction, manufacturing and financial services in over 30 countries with $17 billion in revenue, has sold several non-core assets in the past one year.

In October, L&T sold unlisted subsidiary EWAC Alloys Ltd to UK-registered ESAB Holdings Ltd, for Rs522 crore.

In August, the engineering firm sold its entire stake in unlisted unit L&T Cutting Tools Ltd to IMC International Metalworking Companies BV, owned by Berkshire Hathaway Inc., for Rs174 crore.

The Economic Times reported on 21 June that L&T was in talks with European engineering multinational ABB to sell its electrical and automation division.

Potential acquirer Schneider Electric specializes in digital transformation of energy management and automation in homes, buildings, data centres, infrastructure and industries. With operations in over 100 countries, Schneider also has presence in power management and automation systems and provides integrated efficiency solutions by combining energy, automation and software.

Schneider Electric has been aggressively expanding in India through inorganic measures, making more than a dozen acquisitions since 2000.

Schneider acquired Luminous Power Technologies Pvt. Ltd in 2011 for about €215 million, Mint reported. In 2009, it acquired Meher Capacitors Pvt. Ltd from the Meher Group.

Schneider’s other acquisitions include Smartlink’s Digilink, transmission and distribution business of Areva. Its Indian subsidiary Schneider Electric Infrastructure Ltd reported revenue of Rs126.48 crore in fiscal 2017.