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Sulzer's CEO says Metco sale well on track

ZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss industrial machinery maker Sulzer (SWX:SUN) has attracted strong interest for its Metco coatings unit and the sale is well on track, the company's chief executive said on Friday.

Sulzer hopes it could get about 800 million Swiss francs ($871 million) from the sale of Metco, the world's largest producer of thermal spray coatings, catering to the car, chemicals and energy industries.

"We got high interest and we are well on track," Chief Executive Klaus Stahlmann told an investor conference in Zurich. The company hopes a deal will be signed in the first quarter of 2014.

Sulzer is selling the unit to concentrate on more lucrative businesses making pumps and equipment and providing services for the oil and gas industry.

Rival coatings companies, the Swiss group Oerlikon (OERL.S) and Britain's Bodycote (LSE:BOY) and two private equity firms, including EQT, have made it through to the second round of an auction process to be held on January 8, sources familiar with the matter have said.

(Reporting by Rupert Pretterklieber; Writing by Caroline Copley; Editing by Greg Mahlich)