June 12, 2008 / 9:20 PM / 11 years ago

Brazil's OGX IPO swells to record $4.1 bln

SAO PAULO, June 12 (Reuters) - Brazilian oil and gas company OGX sold an additional lot of shares in a record initial public offering on Thursday, raising a total of 6.71 billion reais ($4.1 billion).

In all, the company sold 5.93 million shares at 1,131 reais ($690) a share, the top of the price range. On Wednesday, it sold 5.19 million shares in the first phase of the offering, raising 5.87 billion reais ($3.6 billion).

The sale of the additional shares to meet strong demand made it the biggest IPO in Brazilian history, beating the previous record held by Bovespa Holding SA BOVH3.SA, which controls the Sao Paulo stock exchange. Bovespa raised 6.6 billion reais when it went public last September.

Shares of the company, also known as OGX Petroleo e Gas Participacoes, are scheduled to begin trading on Friday on the Sao Paulo stock exchange’s Novo Mercado, a trading platform that requires stricter corporate governance standards. The stock will trade under the symbol OGXP3.SA.

OGX, which was created from scratch less than a year ago and has yet to produce a drop of oil, placed shares with qualified investors who had to pay a minimum of 300,000 reais ($184,050).

OGX is owned by Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista, an entrepreneur who made his fortune in the mining business. Batista’s conglomerate includes a water company, power plants and mining company MMX Mineracao (MMXM3.SA)(XMM.TO), which he took public in 2006.

Batista, who has a reputation as a risk taker, is betting that recent oil discoveries off Brazil’s coast are a sign of more to come. Last November, he paid more than $1 billion for drilling rights to 21 offshore blocks at an auction, upstaging oil majors like Petrobras (PETR4.SA)(PBR.N) and Devon Energy Corp (DVN.N).

To get his oil start-up off the ground, Batista has hired several former executives at Petrobras, a world leader in offshore drilling technology. Chief among them are Francisco Gros, a former chief executive of the state-run energy giant, and Paulo Mendonca, who was Petrobras’s production and exploration manager.

The high-profile hires have helped reassure investors that Batista had done his homework before going on a buying spree at the concessions auction, which some oil majors decided to sit out. OGX estimates the areas hold 4.8 billion barrels of oil equivalent and expects production to start in 2011.

“Whoever chose the blocks ... knew what they were doing, and this left investors reassured,” said Adriano Pires, an energy consultant based in Rio de Janeiro. (Additional reporting by Denise Luna in Rio de Janeiro; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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