Seven looks to offload Coates and Caterpillar

Seven Group is considering offloading its stake in Coates Hire and cutting its Caterpillar business in China following a slide in demand for industrial equipment.

At the company’s annual meeting in Sydney, Seven executive chairman Kerry Stokes said WesTrac was struggling in China due to the uncertain business environment.

“This is not China falling off a cliff, it’s just about making sure you don’t size up your business for a level that’s not there,” he said.

While Caterpillar’s business in China was declining Seven said there were no such problems with the Australian WesTrac branch, which reported a record result last year.

Fairfax Media reports Seven has also appointed Goldman Sachs to review its 45 per cent stake in Coats Hire.

The company is looking to make a sale within months because its partner, private equity firm Carlyle Group, is looking for an exit from the equipment hire company, the Herald Sun reports.

Coates, the nation’s largest equipment hire company, reported a 22 per cent jump in revenue last year to $1.3 billion and a 40 per cent lift in net profit to $318 million.

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