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At least one Canadian energy company is attempting to capitalize on Asian interest in Alberta energy plays trigger by the planned IPO from Athabasca Oil Sands.

Athabasca executives and underwriters plan to visit potential investors in a number of Asian cities as part of the road show for the company's $750-million debut, and they just might bump into executives from OPTI Canada in hotel lobbies or airport lounges.

OPTI Canada is also out telling its story to Chinese oil and gas companies and sovereign wealth funds this month, as part of review of strategic alternatives that began back in November. Scotia Capital and TD Securities are advising OPTI on this process. OPTI owns minority stakes in oil sands projects that include Long Lake in Alberta, with Nexan as the senior partner.

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Athabasca enjoyes catchet with potential investors in China, Singapore and other Asian nations in the wake of state-owned PetroChina International Investment Co.'s decision to put $1.9-billion into two of the Calgary company's projects.

Athabasca underwriters, led by Morgan Stanley and GMP Securities, are capitalizing on that endorsement by organizing well-attended presentations in cities such as Hong Kong and Singapore. Athbasca shares are expected to be priced in range between $16 and $18, and the buzz on trading desks has the company hitting the upper end of this range.

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About the Author
Business Columnist

Andrew Willis is a business columnist for the Report on Business at The Globe and Mail, based in Toronto.He has been in business communications and journalism for three decades. More

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