A bitter family row between the chairman of WH Group Ltd. and his son over succession and management issues has wiped out more than US$2 billion of market value in the world’s largest pork processor.
Shares of WH Group in Hong Kong have plunged 17 percent in two days to the lowest in almost three years after an article purportedly written by Wan Hongjian, the 52-year-old son of the company’s founder and top shareholder Wan Long, which accused his father of financial misconduct. Henan Shuanghui Investment & Development Co., its mainland-listed unit, also slumped.
The article, posted Tuesday on the WeChat account of “New Meat Industry,” alleged that Wan senior failed to disclose US$200 million in taxable income, which WH Group has denied. The report came days after the 80-year-old Wan stepped down as chief executive, handing over to chief financial officer Guo Lijun. The group owns U.S. pork supplier Smithfield Foods Inc., which it acquired in 2013.
The accusations are “untrue and misleading,” WH Group said in a statement Wednesday. The company added that it reserves the right to take legal action against the younger Wan or any other persons responsible for the allegations.