LONDON (Oct. 12)—Laird Group P.L.C. is considering selling all or part of its automotive businesses—consisting primarily of the Draftex sealing systems activities in Europe and the U.S.—and is discussing divestiture possibilities with a ``limited number´´ of third parties. Laird´s divestment discussions are being arranged by the investment banking group Lazard Freres & Co. L.L.C., which Laird hired earlier this year ``to advise it on ways of maximizing the value´´ of the automotive activities. Laird declined to comment further on the nature of the discussions. Sweden´s Trelleborg A.B. is one of a handful of companies looking at the Laird assets, according to George Caplea, head of Trelleborg Automotive. Word of the possible divestment of its automotive activities coincided with the release of Laird´s first half results. Overall, Laird´s automotive business reported 7-percent higher sales of $417.5 million, due in large part to increased sales by its U.S. subsidiary Draftex Inc. Profits sank slightly to $16.8 million, as Draftex Inc. reported an $8.5 million loss.