By David French
Aug 21 (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs Group Inc's buyout arm is exploring the sale of Safe-Guard Products International LLC, which could value the auto warranty company at more than $1 billion, including debt, people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.
Goldman Sachs is working with advisers on an auction for Safe-Guard, though there is no certainty a deal will be reached, said the sources, who asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential.
Goldman Sachs declined to comment. Safe-Guard did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Auto warranty businesses have enjoyed favorable market conditions in recent years, as new vehicle sales in the United States have risen steadily since the 2008 financial crisis, aided by strong economic growth and low financing costs.
However, the level of new vehicle sales is forecast to dip slightly in 2019, as high inventory and pressure from used car sales weigh on the sector, according to a June report from auto data provider Edmunds.
Atlanta, Georgia-based Safe-Guard was acquired by Goldman's merchant banking unit in 2012 from private equity firm H.I.G Capital for an undisclosed price. Since then, Safe-Guard has opened an office in California to serve customers on the U.S. West Coast and started operations in Canada, where it now has locations in Mississauga, Ontario, and Montreal.
The company, established in 1992, has over 11 million consumers under Safe-Guard contracts in the United States and Canada, according to its website. (Reporting by David French in New York Editing by Matthew Lewis)