Bonavista Energy to buy Alberta asset for C$155 million

Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:42pm EDT

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(Reuters) - Bonavista Energy Corp (BNP.TO), a Canadian oil and gas company, has agreed to buy a natural gas-weighted asset in Alberta for about C$155 million ($157.3 million) to boost production by nearly 10 percent.

Production at the property, which is within the company's deep basin core area in west central Alberta, is about 6,700 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d), most of which is natural gas, Bonavista said.

Bonavista now expects production for the year to average between 69,500 boe/d and 70,500 boe/d, up from the previous range of 68,000 boe/d to 69,000 boe/d.

The company will fund the acquisition through a discounted bought deal with a syndicate of underwriters co-led by TD Securities Inc and CIBC World Markets Inc. The company will sell 18.2 million common shares to raise C$300.3 million.

"The deal for the acquired properties looks reasonable, but we question the wisdom of the equity raise in conjunction with the transaction as it gives the impression the firm is financing its dividend by diluting its shareholders," Morningstar analyst Robert Bellinski said.

The Calgary-based company pays a monthly cash dividend of 12 Canadian cents per common share.

Bonavista also increased its capital budget to C$410 million. Earlier this month, the company lowered the budget to C$245 million.

Canadian oil and gas explorer Peyto Exploration & Development Corp (PEY.TO) said last month it will buy Open Range Energy Corp ONR.TO in a deal valued at C$100 million as it vies for a larger slice of the Alberta deep basin area.

"This is classic Bonavista style, making countercyclical gas acquisitions," AltaCorp Capital analyst Jeremy McCrea said.

"This does consolidate a bit more of their (Bonavista's) deep basin focus."

Bonavista shares closed at C$17.03 on Tuesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. ($1 = 0.9855 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Shounak Dasgupta and Ankur Banerjee in Bangalore; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila, Maju Samuel)

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