Statoil says IPO covered in upper half of price range

By Walter Gibbs and Gwladys Fouche

OSLO (BestGrowthStock) – Norwegian oil firm Statoil (STL.OL: ) said Wednesday the initial public share offer for its filling stations unit was amply covered in the upper half of the expected price range and suggested bidders should up their offers.

The statement indicates that the IPO to selected investors will raise even more than the minimum 4.2 billion crowns ($725 million) that Statoil had said on Monday it expected to raise.

The offer is set to close on Thursday at 1000 GMT, with trading on the Oslo Stock Exchange to begin the following day.

“The order book is now very comfortably covered throughout the upper half of the NOK 32-41 original price range,” the firm said in a statement.

“Investors should scale their limits, if any, as they see appropriate,” it said.

This would mean increasing or removing price limitations that investors have given to brokers, Statoil said.

Statoil is selling 40 percent of its 300 million shares in Statoil Fuel & Retail and will remain the dominant owner.

DnB NOR analyst Gudmund Halle Isfeldt said Statoil, whose own majority shareholder is the Norwegian state, can use the cash for its newly announced $843 million purchase of petroleum-bearing shale acreage in Texas.

For the spun-off company and its 2,300 service stations across Scandinavia, Poland, the Baltics and Russia, the more pressing matter is how the market as a whole responds on Friday and beyond.

“The real acid test comes after the float when we see whether the market believes in the story from the book-building process and the road shows,” said Halle Isfeldt.

(Editing by Hans Peters and Karen Foster)

Statoil says IPO covered in upper half of price range