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Bain Capital has made a $900 million preliminary bid for a controlling stake in Piramal Glass Pvt. Ltd, two people directly aware of the development said. The offer tops one made by rival Blackstone Group as the private equity giants vie for the glass packaging maker amid surging global demand for vials to store covid vaccine candidates.

Bain Capital’s offer, which came over the weekend, is more than Blackstone’s group binding offer of close to $790 million for the company, the two people cited above said, requesting anonymity as the talks are private.

“Bain is a late entrant but has made a higher offer of close to $900 million," said one of the two people. “Piramal group is seeking an enterprise valuation of around $1 billion."

The second person said Blackstone’s offer is valid till 4 November and “Bain is expected to make a binding offer by then". “In addition to Blackstone and Bain, there are two more bidders in the race," the person said.

Piramal Group and Blackstone did not respond to emailed queries until press time. A spokesperson for Bain Capital declined to comment.

The interest in Piramal Glass comes as the pandemic leads to a global surge in demand for packaging across segments. Makers of vials and syringes have, for instance, started building up capacity in anticipation of a surge in demand if and when a successful covid vaccine is launched in India—a market that could potentially touch $6 billion.

Piramal Glass is a leading player in the global glass packaging industry and has seven units, of which two—Piramal Glass Ceylon PLC and Piramal Glass USA Inc.—have manufacturing sites in Sri Lanka and the US, respectively.

It has a total of five manufacturing locations—two each in India and the US, and one in Sri Lanka—with a total production capacity of 1,410 tonnes per day as on 31 March 2019.

A potential deal for Piramal Glass will mark another divestment by Piramal group, which is looking to shore up capital base of its real estate, pharma and financial services businesses through stake sales in non-core businesses.

Last October, the group’s flagship entity, Piramal Enterprises, raised 5,400 crore through a mix of rights issue of 3,650 crore and preferential allotment of convertible instruments to Canadian pension fund manager Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), amounting to 1,750 crore. This October, Piramal Pharma Ltd, a unit of Piramal Enterprises, completed the sale of a 20% stake to US private equity firm Carlyle Group for 3,523.40 crore. Piramal group said the proceeds of the sale will be used as growth capital for the group’s pharma businesses to expand existing capacities as well as to tap attractive acquisition opportunities within and outside India.

According to corporate filings, Piramal Glass had made unrelated investments of around 300 crore in FY19 and FY20 year-to-date in Chennai-based Archean Group. In 2018, India Resurgent Fund , a joint venture between Bain Capital Credit and Piramal Enterprises, invested about 800 crore in Archean Chemical Industries Ltd in a structured credit deal comprising debt and equity following which it received nearly a 30% stake in the company.

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