December 4, 2013 / 3:40 AM / in 4 years

UPDATE 1-China Huiyuan Juice seeks up to $50 mln in equity capital-IFR

* New shares offered at up to 8.3pct discount to Tuesday’s close

* China blocked Coca-Cola Co’s effort to buy Huiyuan in 2009

* UBS sole under writer for Huiyuan capital raising

HONG KONG, Dec 4 (Reuters) - China Huiyuan Juice Group Ltd is seeking to raise up to HK$390 million ($50.3 million) by issuing new shares, IFR reported, after the company halted trading in its shares earlier on Wednesday.

China’s best-known juice brand is offering 75 million shares in the HK$5.00-5.20 per share range, a discount of up to 8.3 percent to Tuesday’s close, said IFR, a Thomson Reuters publication.

The company in said in a stock exchange filing that the suspension was related to “possible inside information”. A spokesman declined to provide further details.

Bankers earlier had speculated the halt could be related to an acquisition. In 2009, China scuttled a planned $2.4 billion takeover of Huiyuan by The Coca-Cola Co, citing the country’s anti-monopoly law. Coca-Cola is the world’s largest soft-drink maker and the acquisition would have been the largest-ever buyout of a Chinese company by a foreign rival.

Huiyuan is 17.53 pct held by SAIF Partners, one of China’s oldest and best-known private equity firms. Shares in the company closed at HK$5.45 on Tuesday and are up about 93 percent this year.

The company, which has a market value of $1.4 billion, sells most of its fruit and vegetable juices under the Huiyuan brand. It hired UBS as the sole underwriter for the share offering, IFR reported, citing a term sheet of the deal. The term sheet did not specify the use of proceeds.

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