UPDATE 1-French LNG cryogenics specialist GTT for sale
* Total, private equity firm could sell 30 pct GTT stakes in IPO
* GDF Suez to keep its 40 pct stake
* GTT seen worth as much as 1.8 bln euros
* Hellman & Friedman bought 30 pct in 2008 for 310 mln euros
(Adds quote from source familiar with one of the shareholders, GDF Suez comment)
PARIS, June 25 (Reuters) - Total and private equity firm Hellman & Friedman plan to sell their 30 percent stakes in GTT, the world's No. 1 maker of cryogenic hull linings for LNG tankers, in an IPO that could value GTT at up to $2.4 billion, sources close to the companies said.
Gaztransport & Technigaz (GTT), also 40 percent owned by GDF Suez (GSZ.PA), has 70 percent of the market for the high-tech alloy membranes that line the hulls of the world's liquified natural gas (LNG) carriers.
Its main customers are Korean and Chinese shipbuilders who pay GTT up to $10 million per ship. GTT says it has equipped about 240 of the world's LNG carriers, which cost about $220 million apiece.
GTT chief executive Philippe Berterottiere told Reuters in the firm's campus-like headquarters in a leafy suburb west of Paris that lead shareholder GDF Suez was unlikely to sell, as it increasingly sees itself as an LNG company.
"A sale of our stake in GTT is not on the cards," a GDF Suez spokesman told Reuters. He declined to say whether GDF Suez was willing to buy out the two other shareholders.
A source familiar with one of the shareholders told Reuters that shareholders "will formally lodge a request to go public with the French authorities in the second half of this year."
Neither Total nor Hellman & Friedman returned requests for comment.
"Total is less likely to remain a GTT shareholder. As for Hellman & Friedman, the logic of private equity firms is that they go in and out," one industry source said.
The same source said GTT had been valued at between 1.3 and 1.8 billion euros.
Hellman & Friedman bought its 30 percent stake from Italian energy engineering group Saipem in 2008 for 310 million euros. ($1 = 0.7649 euros)
(Editing by Louise Ireland)