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Rice Energy Sells 50M Shares, Sees Gains in First Week of Trading

Canonsburg, PA-based Rice Energy Inc. has completed its initial public offering (IPO) of 50 million shares of common stock, netting $594.5 million and capping its first week of trading on the New York Stock Exchange with its share price finishing nearly 12% higher than when it launched.

Rice, a pure-play Appalachian operator, had announced earlier this month that it would offer 40 million shares priced at $19-21, but after exercising an option to buy an additional 6 million shares and wide market interest, the underwriters sold 20 million shares and the company sold 30 million at the top of its price range.

Rice now plans to use the cash on hand to buy out Alpha Natural Resources 50% interest in a joint venture it has with the company in the Marcellus, pay off its debt and fund a portion of its 2014 capital budget.

By the time the stock launched on Jan. 24, it opened at $21.90 and closed there the same day. By Wednesday, though, the stock had climbed to close at $23.31 in the heaviest day of trading yet for the company in which more than 2 million shares moved.

On Thursday, the stock opened at $24.00 and by Friday finished its first week of trading at $23.52 in a day of broader market losses as the Dow, S&P 500 and NASDAQ  dropped on fears over a slowdown in emerging markets and the plunge in currencies tied to them.

In a prospectus filed in December before its IPO, Rice said it would spend $1.08 billion this year to explore and develop its 48,660 net acres in the Utica Shale and its 43,551 net acres in the Marcellus (see Shale Daily, Dec. 17, 2013).

Rice is the latest E&P to go public over the last year, landing on a list that has thus far been led by Antero Resources Inc., whose offering topped the charts last October when it gained more than 18% in its first day of trading (see Daily GPI, Oct. 11).

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