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Oilpatch players Crescent Point and Daylight Resources announce acquisitions

CALGARY - Two Calgary-based oilpatch players made significant acquisitions Monday, solidifying their foothold in regions where they already had a strong presence.

CALGARY - Two Calgary-based oilpatch players made significant acquisitions Monday, solidifying their foothold in regions where they already had a strong presence.

Crescent Point Energy Corp. (TSX:CPG), one of the dominant players in Saskatchewan's oil scene, said it is buying privately held Wave Energy Ltd. in an all-stock deal worth $665.3 million, as well as other oil assets in the Prairie province.

Also Monday, Daylight Resources Trust (TSX:DAY.UN) said it is acquiring Highpine Oil & Gas Ltd. (TSX:HPX) in a deal worth $530 million, adding oil assets to its natural-gas properties in Alberta.

Crescent Point gets increased access to the promising Lower Shaunavon resource play in southwestern Saskatchewan through the Wave acquisition - the third transaction in the region in recent months.

"What it did was allow us to consolidate the majority of the play," said Crescent Point chief executive officer Scott Saxberg in an interview.

The Lower Shaunavon is roughly the same size as the more developed Bakken oil play in the province's southeast, in which Crescent Point is the dominant player. Both regions require similar advanced drilling and fracturing techniques.

"The Wave Energy guys have done a great job of putting together a world class asset base that's really going to fit in well with Crescent Point," Saxberg said.

The price Crescent Point is paying for Wave may seem high on the surface, but there are a lot of long-term strategic benefits, said Les Stelmach, a portfolio manager for Bissett Income Fund.

"They're buying a company that has a lot of contiguous sections of land, which is important, and has a lot of access to what could be a very substantial resource," he said.

Further beefing up its position in Saskatchewan, Crescent Point said Monday it has inked deals worth $258.5 million to acquire properties in the province's southeast and southwest.

It did not identify the selling company. But in a separate release Provident Energy Trust (TSX:PVE.UN) announced Monday it had sold non-core oil and gas assets in Saskatchewan.

The Crescent Point acquisitions come weeks after the birth of another major oil player in Saskatchewan. Petrobank Energy & Resources Ltd. (TSX:PBG) plans to merge its Canadian business unit with fellow Bakken player TriStar Oil & Gas Ltd. (TSX:TOG), creating a new firm called Petrobakken.

Meanwhile, Daylight said its acquisition of Highpine will create "an emerging senior energy player" with 38,000 barrels of oil equivalent output per day.

The two companies have overlapping properties in the West Central, Pembina and Montney regions of Alberta, said Daylight CEO Anthony Lambert in an interview.

"I think it's a good property fit," he said.

However, the Highpine acquisition tilts Daylight's portfolio away from natural gas, which has been trading near seven-year lows, to crude oil, which has been trading in the more robust US$70 range.

Daylight had been about 70 per cent weighted to natural gas, but now that figure is around 57 per cent.

Investors are "very pleased that we're rebalancing to oil and we're going to be able to use the cash flow generated from those assets into the future to fund our opportunities throughout the new company," Lambert said.

Daylight is looking to further consolidate its position in its core areas through acquisitions, he added.

"We are always looking so this is a step in the right direction. This is not our final step," he said.

Another factor in the Crescent Point and Daylight deals is a new federal rule that will begin taxing income trusts like corporations beginning in 2011, Stelmach said.

Crescent Point has already converted to a corporation, but plans to keep up high payouts to its investors. It's increased girth will help it do that.

"We view Crescent Point probably as a textbook trust conversion, where it kept its initial investor base, which were income interested. It's kept its commitment to them by paying a very high dividend," Stelmach said.

Lambert said Daylight will likely make the jump sometime next year.

In a statement, Daylight said the Highpine acquisition provides "additional financial flexibility," with an increase in its tax pools to more than $1.4 billion.

Energy trusts have always been active buyers but historically they have tended toward targeting more mature properties that produce steady cash flow.

"Some of these deals which are being done now have possibly more of a growth aspect to it. They're trying to buy assets or buy companies that have the potential to grow production and have a bit more of a balance between growth and income," Stelmach said.

Crescent Point shares rose slightly to $36.00 on the Toronto Stock Exchange Monday.

Daylight units dipped slightly to $8.05. Highpine shares soared 18.2 per cent to $6.68.

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