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Carlyle-backed PQ Holdings files for IPO of up to $450 mln

Feb 11 (Reuters) - Specialty chemicals maker PQ Holdings Inc, backed by Carlyle Group LP, filed with U.S. regulators to raise up to $450 million in an initial public offering of common stock.

Carlyle acquired the company, which produces inorganic specialty chemicals used in industrial and consumer markets, for $1.5 billion in 2007.

Reuters reported in December that the private equity firm was looking to sell PQ for as much as $3 billion, or float the company.

BofA Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse Securities and JP Morgan Securities are the lead underwriters, PQ said.

PQ reported net income of $18.3 million on sales of $835.8 million for the nine months ended Sept. 30, according to the company's IPO filing on Tuesday. ()

Carlyle in 2008 combined PQ with industry peer INEOS Silicas, a division of petrochemical giant INEOS, to create a global producer of specialty chemicals, catalysts and engineered glass products.

Carlyle owned 50.6 percent and INEOS 33.7 percent of PQ's common stock, as of Sept. 30.

A strong stock market and low interest rates have prompted many private equity firms to take their portfolio companies public.

PQ's filing comes after Carlyle took telecommunications equipment maker CommScope Holdings Co Inc public in a $578 million offering in October. CommScope's public offering followed the IPO of industrial supplies distributor HD Supply Holdings Inc in June.

Malvern, Pennsylvania-based PQ's filing did not reveal how many shares the company planned to sell or their expected price.

PQ said in the filing that it will apply to list its stock under the symbol "PQH", but did not reveal the exchange it would list on.

The amount of money a company says it plans to raise in its first IPO filings is used to calculate registration fees. The final size of the IPO could be different.