By Michael Flaherty
HONG KONG (Reuters) - Singapore container company Goodpack (GPAK.SI) has hired Macquarie (MQG.AX) to seek strategic alternatives -- from a sale to a strategic buyer to bringing in new investors -- sources familiar with the matter said on Friday.
Goodpack, a Singapore-listed maker of bulk containers for storing and transporting commodities, specializes in environmentally friendly intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) that could replace wooden boxes and metal drums widely used in bulk cargo today.
Shares of Goodpack rose 6.5 percent on Friday to S$1.79, an 8-day high. The company, which declined to comment, previously had a market capitalization of $572 million. Macquarie also declined to comment.
Sources said Goodpack hired Merrill Lynch MER.N more than a year ago to sell the company, but a deal was never done because of the company's high valuation.
Loscam Ltd, an Australian packaging company owned by private equity firm Affinity Equity Partners, could be interested in bidding for Goodpack, a source close to Goodpack said.
Another potential suitor could be Sydney-based Brambles (BXB.AX) Ltd, the source said. It has a unit called CHEP, which is global leader in pallet and container pooling services.
Goodpack's stock has fallen from its S$2.46 high last July, but its price to earnings ratio is still 17.6 times, compared with sector peers' 11.9 times, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Valuations of many logistics companies, especially those based in Asia, have traded higher in the last few years, fuelled by the region's economic growth and demand for the transportation of raw materials and goods.
China International Marine Containers (Group) Co 200039.SZ (000039.SZ), the nation's largest maker of shipping containers, bought a 3 percent stake in Goodpack in April.
Goodpack said in February it will provide packaging to Sinopec (0386.HK) (600028.SS), China's largest refiner, and Sinochem (600500.SS), a major state-owned trader and producer of oil and petroleum products. The deal would allow Goodpack to tap into China's booming demand for rubber.
(Editing by Ian Geoghegan)