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Amid falling oil prices, two energy service firms take different approaches to IPOs

Source Energy Services Ltd. is moving along with its plans to IPO, while STEP Energy Services Ltd. is delaying its public debut amid falling oil prices

Todd Korol/The Globe and Mail

Two Canadian energy service firms mulling initial public offerings are taking different approaches amid falling oil prices, with one forging ahead with its plans to make a public debut while the other is slamming on the brakes.

Source Energy Services Ltd., a TriWest Capital Partners company which produces sand used for hydraulic fracturing, is proceeding with marketing its stock sale and has plans to price its shares within the next week, according to one source familiar with the matter. The Calgary-based company said earlier this month that it aims to raise $300-million.

On the other hand, fracking company STEP Energy Services Ltd., also Calgary-based, has delayed its IPO as renewed weakness in oil prices undermines confidence in the sector. The company had filed paperwork for the offering in late February, aiming to raise about $200-million.

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However, U.S. oil prices have fallen more than 10 per cent since then, sinking back under $50 (U.S.) a barrel and dashing optimism that had returned to the industry after a lengthy downturn.

Indeed, shares of STEP's publicly traded competitors have also weakened considerably in recent weeks. The Canadian energy sector is also grappling with the possibility of being slapped with a U.S. border adjustment tax, which could hurt exports.

As a result, STEP has postponed the offering, while reducing the targeted price range of its IPO to $10 to $12 (Canadian) per share, from $14 to $16 previously, according to a person familiar with the marketing process. The company is now planning to raise $150-million, with private-equity backer ARC Financial Corp. reducing the size of a planned secondary offering by $50-million, the person said.

STEP could revisit plans in six weeks, the person added, although exact timing will hinge on oil prices and overall sentiment. As oil see-saws, investors are "just sitting," the person said.

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About the Authors

Jeff Lewis is a reporter specializing in energy coverage for The Globe and Mail’s Report on Business, based in Calgary. Previously, he was a reporter with the Financial Post, writing news and features about Canada’s oil industry. His work has taken him to Norway and the Canadian Arctic. More

Capital Markets Reporter

Christina Pellegrini is a reporter at The Globe and Mail and a regular contributor to Streetwise, covering capital markets, the exchange business and market structure.She writes about the capital markets divisions of BMO, CIBC and National Bank; independent brokerages such as Canaccord Genuity; and the Canadian operations of foreign dealers including JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse and Citigroup. More

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