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Stocks

WH Group steps into Belle International's shoes on Hang Seng

Meat packer celebrates promotion to Hong Kong blue chip

China's WH Group is the global leader in pork processing.

HONG KONG -- China's WH Group will become a Hang Seng Index component Sept. 4, replacing the recently delisted Belle International Holdings.

Hang Seng Indexes Co., which computes the benchmark stock index, announced the addition of the world's largest pork processing company Wednesday in a quarterly component review.

Women's shoe retailer Belle International was removed from the Hong Kong exchange in late July over its sale to an investment fund.

The Henan-based pork producer, whose units include Smithfield Foods of the U.S, rejoiced at Wednesday's news.

"We are so pleased that the company will become a component of the Hang Seng Index," Wan Long, chairman and CEO of WH Group, said in a statement Wednesday night. He thinks the move indicates the company's "leading position in the sector" and represents recognition by the capital market.

Wan vowed that WH Group will "continue to bring better returns for the community and investors" and also "will expand the operations, product mix and customer base to consolidate and create revenue growth."

WH Group shares closed at 7.98 Hong Kong dollars Wednesday before the announcement, having risen 27.3% this year to outpace the index's 24.6% advance during that period. WH Group will have a weighting of 0.84% in the index.

No change was announced Wednesday to the components of the Hang Seng H-Share Index, which tracks 40 mainland China companies listed in Hong Kong.

Nikkei deputy editor Kenji Kawase contributed to this story.

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