Malaysian poultry biz Leong Hup International seeks $600 mln listing by year-end -sources

KUALA LUMPUR, May 24 (Reuters) - Malaysian poultry producer Leong Hup International Sdn Bhd is looking to raise as much as $600 million in an initial public offering (IPO) and has hired three banks to kick off the process, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Leong Hup has hired Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank), Credit Suisse Group AG and JPMorgan Chase & Co for the IPO with an aim to list this year, the people said.

“The proceeds targeted is around $600 million but nothing is firmed up on valuation yet,” one of the people said.

The people declined to provide further details. They did not want to be identified as the talks are private.

Leong Hup could not be reached for comment while Maybank and Credit Suisse declined to comment. JP Morgan did not respond to an email query.

Last year, Leong Hup told local media it was planning a listing on the Bursa Malaysia stock exchange to raise funds for regional expansion, acquisitions as well as research and development.

The company, whose businesses include poultry farming and animal feed production, is majority owned by the founding Lau family. Private equity firm Affinity Equity Partners has owned a 23 percent stake in the business since 2014, showed Leong Hup’s website.

It has operations in Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore and the Philippines. Its consumer brands include Ayam A1 and SunnyGold in Malaysia.

If Leong Hup succeeds in raising $600 million, it would be Malaysia’s biggest IPO since Lotte Chemical Titan Holding Bhd raised about $875 million in July last year.

Other Malaysian firms in the IPO pipeline include Malaysia’s largest fast-food operator QSR Brands, which is looking to raise about $500 million.

Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi and Liz Lee Editing by Christopher Cushing