China food producer Shuanghui, partly owned by Temasek, hires banks for IPO

Employees work on production lines at a pork processing plant owned by Henan Shuanghui Group Ltd, in Luohe, in central China's Henan province, on June 4, 2013.  China's Shuanghui International Holdings, which bought United States pork producer S
Employees work on production lines at a pork processing plant owned by Henan Shuanghui Group Ltd, in Luohe, in central China's Henan province, on June 4, 2013.  China's Shuanghui International Holdings, which bought United States pork producer Smithfield Foods this year, has hired six banks for a Hong Kong initial public offering, seeking to raise up to US$6 billion (S$7.5 billion) in what is set to be Asia's Pacific ex-Japan's largest offering in about four years. -- FILE PHOTO: AP

HONG KONG (Reuters) - China's Shuanghui International Holdings, which bought US pork producer Smithfield Foods this year, has hired six banks for a Hong Kong IPO, seeking to raise up to US$6 billion (S$7.5 billion) in what is set to be Asia's Pacific ex-Japan's largest offering in about four years.

Shuanghui, which counts Goldman Sachs, Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings and private equity firm New Horizons as its shareholders, owns Shenzhen-listed Henan Shuanghui Investment & Development Co, China's largest meat processing company.

New Horizons is the private equity firm founded by Winston Wen, the son of China's ex-Premier Wen Jiabao.

At US$6 billion, the IPO would be the biggest in Asia Pacific since AIA Group's US$20.5 billion listing in October 2010.

The Shuanghui IPO plans were first revealed by Reuters in July when sources said the combined Shuanghui/Smithfield company would have a value of about US$20 billion.

The IPO would provide Shuanghui's private equity investors with an exit route from their investments and bring to fruition long held listing plans, sources previously told Reuters.

Shuanghui could also use the proceeds to pay down debt used to acquire Smithfield, people familiar said.

Shuanghui has tapped BOC International, Citic Securities International, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley , Standard Chartered and UBS to lead the IPO, IFR, a Thomson Reuters publication reported late on Tuesday.

Shuanghui paid US$4.7 billion to buy Virginia-based Smithfield, the world's biggest hog producer, in China's largest ever acquisition of a US company. Including debt, the Smithfield acquisition was valued at US$7.1 billion.

Despite political opposition, the deal closed in September, allowing Shuanghui to directly sell Smithfield pork products across China to meet the country's huge demand for the product.

Shuanghui International owns a 73.26 per cent stake held directly and indirectly in Henan Shuanghui Investment & Development Co.

Hong Kong stock exchange rules require one year of ownership before a merged entity can list. IFR said the IPO is expected in the second quarter of 2014.