China’s WH Group set to raise $2 billion in scaled-down IPO, says source-Reuters

(Reuters) – WH Group Ltd is set to raise $2.05 billion in a scaled-down Hong Kong initial public offering, a person with direct knowledge said on Tuesday, the Chinese pork producer’s second attempt to list this year after investors rebuffed a pricier deal.

WH Group, the world’s biggest pork producer, will sell shares at a fixed price of HK$6.20 ($0.80) each on Wednesday, valuing the company at 11.5 times its estimated 2014 earnings, said the person who declined to be identified because the matter is not yet public.

A spokesman for WH Group in Hong Kong declined to comment.

The revised share price is lower than the HK$8.00-HK$11.25 range WH Group had initially proposed for its earlier Hong Kong IPO. The company pulled that offer, which it had hoped would raise up to $5.3 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 $7.1 billion purchase of U.S. 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 the two IPO sponsors, down from an initial list of seven, the source said.

The new IPO will consist only of primary 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.