Vaar Energi shares fall after $7.9 bln Eni spin-off

The logo of Italian energy company Eni is seen at a gas station in Rome, Italy September 30, 2018. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

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OSLO, Feb 16 (Reuters) – Shares of Vaar Energi , the largest pure-play oil exploration and production (E&P) company to list globally in almost a decade, fell 4.9% as it made its Oslo stock market debut on Wednesday.

A spin-off from Italy’s Eni , Vaar declined to 26.64 crowns from 28 crowns in the initial public offering (IPO), which had valued the group at 69.9 billion crowns ($7.85 billion). read more

It had pared some losses to trade at 27.50 crowns by 1114 GMT.

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Taking advantage of soaring petroleum prices, Eni last month announced plans to float Vaar on Euronext Oslo, one of several moves by the Italian energy group to free up cash from legacy fossil fuel businesses to fund a green drive.

Petroleum industry IPOs have been a tough sell in recent years, however, with high-profile companies including Wintershall DEA and Neptune Energy repeatedly postponing listings. read more

Vaar on Monday announced the IPO price would be set at the low end of the company’s intended range of 28-31.50 crowns, giving it a value of 69.9 billion crowns before Wednesday’s fall.

Bookrunners involved in the listing said this made Vaar the most valuable E&P company to conduct an IPO since 2013. Euronext said the company was Norway’s third largest stock market entrant of all time.

At 28 crowns per share the IPO had been “substantially oversubscribed”, Vaar said. The company attracted some 19,000 new shareholders, including institutional investors from Europe, the United States and Asia, as well as Nordic retail buyers.

The company this month raised its projected 2022 dividend to a minimum of $800 million from $700 million.

“We have set ambitious growth targets and our cash flow and solid balance sheet support attractive, resilient distributions to our shareholders,” CEO Torger Roed said in a statement.

Vaar produced around 247,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day in the third quarter of 2021 and targets around 350,000 barrels per day by the end of 2025.

Eni and minority owner HitecVision sold an 11% stake for 7.7 billion crowns.

In the coming weeks, lead managers may raise the overall size of the deal to 12.7% via an overallotment option.

Eni will remain majority owner with a stake of between 63.5% and 64.3%.

Banks involved in the IPO were DNB Markets, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, SpareBank 1 Markets, ABG Sundal Collier, BofA Securities, Carnegie, Jefferies and Pareto Securities.

($1 = 8.8991 Norwegian crowns)

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Reporting by Terje Solsvik and Nerijus Adomaitis; editing by Gwladys Fouche and Jason Neely

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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