HONG KONG (AP) — China's WH Group, which became the world's biggest pork company after buying Smithfield Foods of the U.S. last year, said Monday it plans to raise up to $5.3 billion in an initial public offering on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
Most of the money will be used to pay off the debt used to buy Smithfield. The acquisition helped turn the Chinese company into a global butcher with the ability to better supply rapidly growing demand for pork in China, the world's second biggest economy.
"WH Group's listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange is in line with our stature as the world's largest pork company, with an increasingly global reach," CEO Wan Long said in a statement.
The company bought Smithfield Foods Inc., the largest U.S. pork company, less than a year ago for $4.7 billion in cash.
WH Group, which changed its name from Shuanghui International Holdings after acquiring Smithfield, is the dominant pork producer in China, which accounted for more than half of global pork consumption in 2012.
WH Group said it is selling 3.65 million shares priced at between 8 and 11.25 Hong Kong dollars ($1.03 and $1.45).
That would raise from HK$29 billion to HK$42 billion ($4.1 billion to $5.3 billion) for WH Group.
Pricing is expected to be determined on April 22. The shares are to start trading on April 30.