Sunshine Oilsands launches Hong Kong IPO of up to $606 million

The Canadian energy company, whose cornerstone investors include China’s sovereign wealth fund, kicks off the management roadshow today.
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Alberta's oil sands are one of the planet's biggest carbon deposits
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<div style="text-align: left;"> Alberta's oil sands are one of the planet's biggest carbon deposits </div>

Calgary-based Sunshine Oilsands will launch the institutional bookbuilding for its Hong Kong initial public offering today, about a week later than initially expected due to what sources say was a process-related issue.

The oil sands company has set a price range that will allow it to raise between HK$4.49 billion and HK$4.69 billion ($580 million to $606 million) through the first large-scale IPO in Hong Kong this year. It is offering 923 million new shares, or about 32% of its enlarged share capital, at a price ranging from HK$4.86 to HK$5.08 per share.

The total proceeds could be increased to as much as $697 million if a 15% greenshoe is exercised in full.

As reported earlier, Sunshine Oilsands has signed up three cornerstone investors that will commit a combined $350 million, which means that more than half of the base deal has been secured already. China Investment Corp (CIC), China’s country’s sovereign wealth fund, has pledged $150 million, while China Petrochemical Corp (Sinopec) and US-based EIG will invest $150 million and $50 million respectively. The cornerstone investors will be subject to a six-month lock-up.

BOC International, Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley are joint bookrunners for the offering, which will be split 90-10 between institutional and retail investors, subject to the standard clawback triggers.

The price range values Sunshine Oilsands at an enterprise value to proved and probable plus best-estimate contingent reserves (2P+C) multiple of 0.46 to 0.48. That puts it at a slight discount to Athabasca Oil Sands, which is trading at an EV/2P+C multiple of 0.52, according to sources. Athabasca Oil Sands is viewed as one of Sunshine Oilsands’ major comparables together with BlackPearl Resources, MEG Energy and Southern Pacific.

After its 2011 drilling and seismic operations, Sunshine Oilsands evaluated its leases at 3.1 billion barrels of best-estimate contingent (2C) resources and 419 million barrels of proved and probable (2P) reserves. None of its oil sands leases are operational yet, but the company is generating income from the production of heavy oil from its Muskwa property. Management estimates that it will be producing 1,600 to 1,800 barrels of oil per day by the end of 2012, with the first oil sands production starting in 2013.

At least 93% of the net proceeds will be used to fund the development of oil sands and heavy/light oil projects, and the rest will be used as general working capital for corporate and other purposes, according to a term sheet.

Oil sands are a naturally occurring mixture of sand, clay or other minerals, water and bitumen, which must be treated before it can be used by refineries to produce usable fuels such as gasoline and diesel.

Sunshine Oilsands, which was incorporated in 2007, focuses on the development of oil sands leases in the Athabasca region in Alberta, Canada — a province that claims that its oil sands are the third-biggest proven crude oil reserve in the world, after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. New projects are being added every year and production is expected to increase to 3 million barrels per day in 2018 from 1.31 million barrels per day in 2008.

While other major oil sands companies, such as Athabasca Oil Sands, are listed in Toronto, Sunshine Oilsands has chosen to come to Hong Kong as it wants to attract Asia-based investors.

Hong Kong was the world’s top destination for new listings for the third year in a row in 2011 and foreign companies are increasingly choosing this market as a place to float their shares as they see advantage in its proximity to the rapidly growing China.

The face that Sunshine Oilsands’ major shareholders are Chinese corporations that are more familiar with the Hong Kong market also likely influenced the decision, a source has said. The company secured C$450 million of equity proceeds through a pre-IPO investment by a number of prominent investors in June last year, including Bank of China Group Investment, China Life, Cross-Strait Common Development Fund and Orient International Resources.

The relationship between China and resource-rich Canada has deepened in recent years as China’s economy and its hunger for energy resources have grown rapidly. But the two governments may now push for even closer ties.

Accompanying Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on a four-day visit to China this month, Canadian natural resource minister Joe Oliver told Bloomberg that he is assuring Chinese officials that the nation is welcome to expand investments in Canada’s oil industry. “Our oil sands are the largest energy project in the entire world. We simply don’t have enough capital in Canada,” he was quoted as saying.

Although it is being criticised for a potential environmental impact, Canadian energy transporter Enbridge is proposing the Northern Gateway pipeline, which, according to the company, would transport 525,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil for export and import 193,000 bpd of condensate. The pipeline would allow Canada to send tankers of crude to China and reduce the reliance on the US market, according to Reuters. An independent energy regulator last month started two years of hearings into the pipeline.

Sunshine Oilsands’ offering will overlap with the final few days of bookbuilding for the Hong Kong IPO of Xiwang Special Steel. The Chinese company is aiming to raise between $171 million and $217 million and is scheduled to fix the price on Friday.

Sunshine Oilsands’s roadshow and bookbuilding is expected to end on February 23, and the final price will be set the following day. The listing is scheduled for March 1.

¬ Haymarket Media Limited. All rights reserved.

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