WH Group plans to relaunch Hong Kong IPO

Chinese pork giant WH Group, which scrapped an initial public offering worth more than $5 billion earlier this year, has relaunched its plan to list in Hong Kong.

The world’s biggest pork firm, which last year bought US giant Smithfield Foods in a landmark multi-billion-dollar deal, cancelled a planned listing in April blaming “deteriorating” market conditions.

However, analysts attributed the move to a lack of appetite for the firm.

WH Group now plans to raise more than $2 billion in its new IPO, sources familiar with the company told Dow Jones Newswire Thursday, adding that the company plans to start taking orders in two weeks.

A prospectus filed to the Hong Kong stock exchange on Wednesday did not specify how much it would raise for the listing.

The company said in the prospectus that its net profit for the first quarter of 2014 was $407 million, up from $125 million for the same quarter a year earlier.

The decision to pull its IPO in April was a blow to Hong Kong’s stock exchange, which has been struggling to regain its appeal as a public listings destination after being eclipsed by other bourses in 2012 as the world’s largest venue for new listings.

The exchange was left disappointed in March when Alibaba, the world’s largest online retailer, opted to list in New York instead following a disagreement over the type of stock it could issue.

WH Group, which is based in Henan province in central China, had initially said it wanted to raise $5.3 billion, which would have been the biggest IPO globally for a year and Hong Kong’s largest since 2010.

It later slashed the valuation of its listing by two thirds to $1.88 billion blaming concerns about the strength of the city’s stock market.

WH Group is involved in the production, slaughter and distribution of pork, a key ingredient in Chinese cuisine and is also a shareholder of Spanish meat firm Campofrio Food.


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