July 26, 2018 / 12:35 AM / 10 months ago

Oil producer Berry Petroleum prices below target in bellwether IPO

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Berry Petroleum raised less than planned in its initial public offering on Wednesday, an underwhelming showing in what was seen as a potential bellwether for other exploration and production (E&P) companies looking to go public.

In the first E&P IPO since late-2016, California-based Berry priced at $14 per share, it said in a statement, below its $15-$17 target range.

Berry sold around 10.5 million shares to raise $146.96 million, less than the originally planned 12.2 million shares. Existing shareholders sold a further 2.5 million shares, also less than originally planned.

After 20 IPOs worth $11.7 billion in 2014, with the slump in oil from mid-2014, the subsequent three years raised a combined $9.8 billion from 21 offerings, according to Thomson Reuters data.

But with higher oil prices and a positive earnings outlook for energy companies expected to fuel a rebound in North American oil and gas listings, Berry was viewed as potentially the first in a string of E&P IPOs in the second half of 2018, including Indigo Natural Resources and Vine Resources.

Drawbacks for Berry from an investor standpoint included its multi-basin strategy when the trend is toward single-basin strategies, and its gas business, a sector which is facing an over-supply issue.

Berry shares are expected to begin trading on the Nasdaq on Thursday under the ticker symbol “BRY”.

Goldman Sachs & Co, Wells Fargo Securities and BMO Capital Markets acted as lead book-running managers for the IPO.

Reporting by Joshua Franklin in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler

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