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Acquisition-hungry Peyto Energy Trust laid the ground work for future oil and gas property purchases by launching a $85-million equity sale late Thursday.

Peyto sold 8.1 million units at $10.50 each to a syndicate of dealers led by BMO Nesbitt Burns. The financing played out at a 6 per cent discount to Thursday's closing price of Peyto units on the TSX.

Peyto will use the money to pay down debt and for "general corporate purposes," a catch-all phrase that typically includes picking up additional reserves. The energy trust has a $1.1-billion market cap and has shown a deft touch on property purchases in the past.

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There are $1.7-billion worth of oil and gas properties up for sale in western Canada, according to a recent survey of publicly disclosed asset dispositions from investment bank Peters & Co.

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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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