Belle Int'l halts trading, cites merger announcement

SHANGHAI, April 18 (Reuters) - Chinese footwear giant Belle

International Holdings Ltd has suspended trading in

its shares pending an announcement related to Hong Kong's

"takeovers and mergers" code, the firm said in a filing on

Tuesday.

Bloomberg, citing people with knowledge of the matter,

reported Belle's management were in talks with CDH Investment

Fund Management Co about a potential buyout.

Reuters could not immediately reach Belle for comment. CDH

did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Belle said in its statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange

that its shares would be suspended "pending the release of an

announcement pursuant to The Hong Kong Code on Takeovers and

Mergers, which is price sensitive in nature."

China's top footwear retailer, which has over 20,000

mainland outlets, expects to see a sharp profit fall when it

reports full-year earnings in May as shifting consumer style

preferences put pressure on its shoe business.

Belle distributes several sportswear brands, including Nike

, Adidas, Puma and Converse.

It has a market capitalisation of HK$44.45 billion ($5.72

billion).

($1 = 7.7743 Hong Kong dollars)

(Reporting by Adam Jourdan and SHANGHAI newsroom; Editing by

Stephen Coates)