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by Stockwatch Business Reporter
West Texas Intermediate crude for February delivery added 15 cents to $58.23 on the New York Merc, while Brent for March added 29 cents to $64.49 (all figures in this para U.S.). Western Canadian Select traded at a discount of $23.00 to WTI, down from a discount of $22.91. Natural gas for February added one cent to $2.19. The TSX energy index added a fraction to close at 145.99.
U.S.-focused shale producer EnCana Corp. (ECA) lost 14 cents to $5.54 on 19.5 million shares. At a special meeting this morning, the company received shareholder approval to move its headquarters to Denver from Calgary, change its name to Ovintiv Inc. and roll back 1 for 5. The vote was about 90 per cent in favour. Chief executive officer Doug Suttles cheered the decisive outcome, declaring himself "extremely pleased with the vote of confidence" in the board, which continues to work toward "capturing the value we know exists within our equity."
In addition to being decisive, the vote was an unusually speedy affair, with a press release flying out the door just 20 minutes after the start of the meeting. The brevity belies the impressive volume of ink that has been spilled over the proposal since it was first announced in October. Streams of op-eds poured forth over EnCana's rebranding and what it signals for Canadian energy, with no less than the company's founder and former chief executive officer, Gwyn Morgan, equating the "heart-wrenching" decision to proof that Canada is now a "pariah" for investors. The proposal also drew criticism from major shareholder Letko, Brosseau & Associates (a Montreal-based firm that owns about 4 per cent of EnCana's shares), which castigated EnCana over its "profound absence of concern" for Canadian institutional investors who will have to sell the stock as a result of the redomiciling, crystallizing steep losses. EnCana brushed off these and other criticisms and maintained that the move would benefit the vast majority of shareholders by providing greater access to U.S. capital. In the end, the vast majority of shareholders agreed.
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