June 25, 2015 / 3:13 PM / 3 years ago

Chicken producer Wayne Farms puts IPO in cold storage

(Reuters) - Wayne Farms Inc WNFM.O, the sixth-largest broiler chicken producer and processor in the United States, withdrew its initial public offering on Thursday, citing “market conditions.”

The subsidiary of Continental Grain Co, one of the largest privately held U.S. corporations, was expected to sell 12.82 million Class A shares in the offering.

“The current overall market conditions are not favorable for the company to receive an appropriate valuation at this time,” Chief Financial Officer Courtney Fazekas said in an email.

The IPO was expected to be priced between $18 and $21 per share. At the mid-point the company would have been valued at about $1 billion.

Shares of Wayne were set to debut at a time when the U.S. poultry industry is grappling with the deadliest-ever bird flu outbreak in its history.

The industry is also under pressure from large retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N), which has urged meat processors to reduce the use of antibiotics in chickens, a controversial practice by livestock producers.

Citigroup, J.P. Morgan and BMO Capital Markets were underwriters for the IPO.

Reporting by Avik Das and Sudarshan Varadhan in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel

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