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Leaner IPO for Pork Giant

23 July 2014

HONG KONG - WH Group is set to raise up to HK$16 billion in a scaled-down initial public offering, a person with direct knowledge said yesterday (Wednesday, 23 July), marking the mainland pork producer's second attempt to list this year after investors rebuffed a pricier deal.

The Standard reports that the world's biggest pork producer will sell shares at a fixed price of HK$6.20 each today, valuing the company at 11.5 times its estimated 2014 earnings, the source said.

The revised share price is lower than the HK$8 to HK$11.25 range that WH Group had initially proposed for its earlier IPO. The company pulled that offer, which it had hoped would raise up to HK$41.3 billion, in April after investors balked at the high valuation.

The IPO also floundered because the 29 banks - a record number - hired to manage the offer also sent confusing signals to institutional investors, while the negative publicity surrounding sky-high executive compensation raised corporate governance issues.

WH Group is seeking funds to repay part of the debt it took on to pay for last year's US$7.1 billion (HK$55.38 billion) purchase of US pork producer Smithfield International.

WH Group, whose products include Smithfield ham and Farmland bacon in the United States, has named BOC International and Morgan Stanley as its IPO sponsors, down from an initial list of seven, the source said.

The new IPO will consist only of new shares, meaning existing shareholders, including CDH Investments, New Horizon, Goldman Sachs and Temasek Holdings would not sell their stakes in the company, the source added.

In other action, SDM Group, which operates dancing schools for children, said it plans to list on the Growth Enterprise Market by placing nearly HK$100 million worth of shares. Nearly 40 per cent of the proceeds will be used to acquire more dance centers and 37 per cent will be used to repay debt.

SDM operate 20 dance centers in Hong Kong under the brand of SDM Jazz & Ballet Academic.

ThePigSite News Desk



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