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Fast on the heels of Canada's largest IPO in a decade, two Calgary-based energy companies announced financings in the space of about five minutes on Wednesday, more evidence of a growing investor appetite for the sector.

 

Trican Well Service Ltd (TCW.TO), which provides equipment and services to the oil industry in Canada, Russia, the United States and North Africa, said on Wednesday it raised at least C$150 million ($148.5 million) in a bought-deal financing.

Meanwhile, Zapata Energy Corp (ZCO.V), a Calgary-based oil company, said it plans to raise at least C$50 million.

The financings, or bought deals, come at a time when interest in the Canadian oil patch is stirring, thanks to $80-a-barrel crude and a global economic recovery that's gaining traction.

Just last month Athabasca Oil Sands Corp (ATH.TO) launched Canada's largest initial public offering in over a decade, raising about C$1.3 billion.

Trican, a Calgary-based company that supplies specialized equipment and services for exploration and development of oil and gas reserves, said it agreed to sell 11,550,000 common shares at a price of $13 per share.

It also granted underwriters an option to purchase up to 1,732,500 more shares for additional gross proceeds of some C$22.5 million.

The offer is expected to close on or about May 7.

"Trican expects that the proceeds of the offering will initially be used to pay down the company's bank debt to free up borrowing capacity to fund the company's capital expenditure program, for working capital requirements and for general corporate purposes," the company said in a statement.

The deal comes to market in the same week that a subsidiary of China's Sinopec Group (0386.HK)(600028.SS)(SNP.N) agreed to pay $4.65 billion for ConocoPhillips (COP.N) stake in a Canadian oil sands project, marking the country's second largest investment in North America.

Trican said it reached the bought deal agreement with a syndicate of underwriters led by RBC Capital Markets and including BofA Merrill Lynch, FirstEnergy Capital Corp, Peters & Co Limited and Thomas Weisel Partners Canada Inc.

GROWING TREND

Five minutes before the Trican deal was announced, some of those same banks announced the bought deal with Zapata Energy. It provides for the sale of 6,945,000 common shares at C$7.20 per share, with an over-allotment option to purchase up to an 1,042,000 more shares for additional proceeds of some C$7.5 million.

Underwriters on the deal were led by National Bank Financial Inc and included FirstEnergy Capital Corp, Macquarie Capital Markets Canada Ltd, GMP Securities L.P, CIBC World Markets Inc, Cormark Securities Inc, Peters & Co. Ltd and Wellington West Capital Markets Inc.

"Proceeds of the offering will be used for the expansion of the capital program, repayment of debt and general corporate purposes," Zapata said in a press release.

Zapata also raised C$17 million in a private placement this week and in February closed a $6.6 million financing.

The deal is expected to close on or about May 5.

($1=$0.99 Canadian)

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