Rice Energy aiming to raise $800 million by going public

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Rice Energy Inc. is looking to raise $800 million by going public, according to a registration statement the company filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission Monday.

It has requested to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "RICE."

Canonsburg-based Rice is an oil and gas exploration and production company, with 43,351 acres in the Marcellus shale region in southwestern Pennsylvania and 48,660 acres in the Utica shale in Ohio. The company had declared earlier this month its intent to go public.

So far, according to the registration statement, it has drilled and completed 37 horizontal wells, all of them producing dry gas in the Marcellus and the Upper Devonian shale.

Rice became active in the Utica shale only last year, and began drilling its first well there in October.

The company has been ramping up fast. This year, its capital budget is $629 million. In 2014, Rice is planning to spend more than $1 billion, of which $299 million will be devoted to Marcellus wells; $132 million for drilling and other activity in the Utica; another $386 million for new leases; and $263 million for midstream projects.

The pace is picking up despite Rice's losses over the past several years. In 2011, Rice Energy sustained a loss of $939,000. Last year, that loss grew to $19.3 million.

Revenue between those two years increased from $14 million to $27.2 million. In the first nine months of 2013, the company lost $20.8 million, while revenue climbed to $60.7 million.

In its SEC registration, Rice disclosed that it did not have good internal controls in 2011 and 2012, and it has hired a team of accountants to review financial reporting. That review won't be complete before the company starts trading, the filing warned.

Rice, which has 127 employees, has a young management team. Its CEO, Daniel Rice IV, is 33. His brother, Toby Rice, is 31 and serves as the company's president and COO. Another brother, Derek Rice, is vice president of exploration and geology and is 28.

With one exception, all the company's executives are under 40. The youngest, CFO Grayson Lisenby, 27, also was the top earner this year. His compensation amounts to $286,000, more than twice that of the CEO.

Anya Litvak: alitvak@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1455.

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