March 4, 2015 / 9:59 PM / 3 years ago

Canada's Encana plans share issue amid energy price slump

(In U.S. dollars unless noted)

CALGARY, Alberta, March 4 (Reuters) - Encana Corp, Canada’s largest natural gas producer, said on Wednesday it plans to raise up to C$1.44 billion ($1.16 billion) through a secondary share issue as the company looks to bolster a balance sheet weakened by low oil and natural gas prices.

Encana said it has agreed to sell 85.62 million shares, priced at C$14.60 each, to a group of underwriters led by RBC Capital Markets, Credit Suisse and the Bank of Nova Scotia, to raise C$1.25 billion. The bankers have the option to purchase a further 12.8 million shares if demand warrants.

Encana said it plans to use the money to redeem two series of notes worth a combined $1.45 billion as it looks to reduce debt while commodity prices remain weak.

The issue is the second by a major Canadian oil and gas producer in recent weeks. Oil sands developer Cenovus Energy Inc last month raised C$1.5 billion through a similar bought deal as it looked to fund its capital program despite oil prices that have fallen by more than half since June.

Encana’s offering is expected to close on March 16.

Encana shares closed 3 percent lower at C$15.20 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Wednesday. ($1 = 1.2412 Canadian dollars) (Reporting by Scott Haggett; editing by Matthew Lewis)

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