Canada's Penn West to sell land, royalties to Freehold for C$321 mln

Tue Apr 14, 2015 4:23pm EDT
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CALGARY, Alberta, April 14 (Reuters) - Penn West Petroleum Ltd said on Tuesday that it would sell its royalty interest in some Western Canadian oil fields to Freehold Royalties Ltd for C$321 million ($257 million) to cut debt and weather low crude prices.

The deal involves Penn West's 8.5 percent royalty from production in part of the Viking oil field in Saskatchewan, as well as royalty payments and wholly owned lands in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

The sale comes after Penn West reached an agreement earlier this year with senior creditors to amend some debt covenants the company could no longer meet after oil prices dropped by more than half.

Penn West, whose shares have fallen 72 percent over the past year, said the sale would meet nearly half of the C$650 million the company has promised to pay the holders of its senior, unsecured notes.

Freehold, which acquires and manages oil and gas royalties paid by companies operating on lands they do not own, said it would pay for part of the acquisition with a C$297 million equity offer led by RBC Capital Markets and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

The company is to issue 16.5 million shares at $18 each. The underwriters have the option to buy another 2.48 million shares if demand warrants.

Freehold said the acquisition of 280,000 acres of royalty and mineral-title lands would add C$14.2 million to its operating income this year and was near its current properties.

Penn West shares were up 20 Canadian cents at C$2.78 on the Toronto Stock Exchange, while Freehold last traded at C$18.98, up 56 Canadian cents.

($1 = 1.2494 Canadian dollars) (Reporting by Scott Haggett; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)