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Apple supplier CN Innovations mulls US$1b unit sale

[HONG KONG] CN Innovations Group, a supplier to Apple Inc, is weighing a sale of its cover glass business that could fetch as much as US$1 billion, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The Hong Kong-based company is working with an adviser to find a buyer for the unit, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private. The business, which manufactures glass for portable electronic devices and consumer electronics products, could draw interest from buyout firms and other companies in the industry, the people said.

The privately-held CN Innovations is calling for non-binding bids as soon as this week, the people said.

The cover glass unit, which competes with bigger rivals such as Lens Technology Co and Biel Crystal Manufactory Ltd, had annual earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of about US$120 million last year, according to one of the people. Private equity firm AIF Capital holds a small stake in CN Innovations and is looking to exit its investment in the transaction, the person said.

Deliberations are at an early stage and the company could decide against a sale, said the people. A representative for CN Innovations declined to comment. A representative for AIF Capital did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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CN Innovations traces its roots to Chung Nam Co, which was founded in 1935 by the late Chong Ching Um, according to its website. Chong is the uncle and father-in-law of Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing.

The company counts three manufacturing locations in Apple's official supplier list. Apart from cover glass, CN Innovations also works with touch panels, metal processing, metal injection molding and providing decorative and functional coating. It has production sites in Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Suzhou, hiring more than 11,000 employees, its website shows.


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