WH Group Ltd., which purchased US pork producer Smithfield Foods Inc. for $4.7 billion in 2013 under the name Shuanghui International, has received approval for a Hong Kong initial public offering (IPO). Hoping to raise between $5 billion and $6 billion, WH Group has already started the premarketing process by meeting with investors. The company’s valuation range will be set on April 10, and the listing is planned to take place on April 29.
If the deal raises $5 billion or more, it will be the largest Hong Kong IPO since Brazil-based insurer BB Seguridade Participacoes SA raised $5.7 billion in April 2013. And with 28 underwriters, the WH Group IPO would set a record in that arena as well. Previously, the record was 21, held by Chinese brokerage China Galaxy Securities Co. in its $1.1 billion IPO.
News of WH Group’s interest in a $6 billion IPO first broke on January 14 when the former Shuanghui International announced plans to file an official listing application with the Hong Kong stock exchange. The Wall Street Journal reports that WH Group is using the IPO to repay the $2.4 billion in debt that it took on to purchase Smithfield.