* Q1 net profit tripled to $407 mln, margins improve
* Names BOC International and Morgan Stanley as IPO sponsors
* Offer could come in July or early August -IFR
(Recasts with IPO size, offer details, adds context)
By Daniel Stanton and Denny Thomas
HONG KONG, July 10 Chinese pork producer WH
Group Ltd is seeking to raise up to $3 billion as
early as this month in a revived Hong Kong initial public
offering (IPO) which saw the deal size cut by nearly two-thirds,
Thomson Reuters publication IFR reported on Thursday.
The offer would be the second attempt this year by the
world's biggest pork company to go public, as it seeks funds to
repay part of the debt it took to foot last year's $7.1 billion
purchase of U.S. pork producer Smithfield International.
In April, WH Group pulled an Hong Kong IPO it had hoped
would raise up to $5.3 billion after investors baulked at the
high valuation. 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.
The new IPO would only comprise primary shares, meaning
existing shareholders including CDH Investments, New Horizon,
Goldman Sachs and Temasek Holdings would not
sell their stake in the offering, IFR reported, citing sources
familiar with matter.
After the IPO, public shareholders would own about 20
percent. WH Group plans to complete the offer quickly, and with
little or no marketing, IFR added.
A WH Group spokesman declined to comment when asked about
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 company updated its IPO prospectus late on Wednesday,
highlighting a stronger financial performance.
Its first quarter 2014 profit after tax more than tripled to
$407 million from $125 million in the same year-ago period while
turnover also more than tripled to $5.05 billion.
The company earned a 7 percent net profit margin compared
with negative 2.3 percent margin for the year ended Dec. 31.
The company had previously named five other sponsors,
including Citic Securities International, DBS Group, Goldman
Sachs, Standard Chartered and UBS.
(Reporting by Denny Thomas and Daniel Stanton; Editing by Miral