OPC.TO: Oil sands developer Opti may opt to sell itself

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Oil sands developer Opti may opt to sell itself

* Launches strategic review

* Review may result in sale of company

* No timetable for completion

CALGARY, Alberta, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Canadian oil sands developer Opti Canada Inc said on Tuesday it may put itself up for sale as it launched a review of strategic alternatives to try to boost its flagging share price.

The company, which holds a 35 percent stake in Nexen Inc’s Long Lake oil sands project in northern Alberta, said the alternatives being reviewed by its board could result in a sale or merger of the company, restructuring its debt, or an asset sale.

Opti shares have fallen 42 percent over the past 12 months as Nexen struggles to raise output from the Long Lake project, saying last month that it was unlikely to reach its 60,000 barrel per day capacity until at least 2011.

Opti was also hit by the credit crunch and was forced earlier this year to sell a 15 percent stake in the project to Nexen, making it a smaller partner in a project in which it once controlled a half interest.

Opti said in a release that the improving economy and rising prices for oil sands assets favored remaining independent but its board wants to decide the best course for raising the price of its shares.

The company has hired Scotia Waterous and TD Securities to act as financial advisers.

It did not say how long it would take to complete the review.

Opti shares rose 2 Canadian cents to C$1.90 on Tuesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. It announced the review after markets closed.

($1=$1.07 Canadian) (Reporting by Scott Haggett; editing by Peter Galloway)

OPTI Canada Inc (OPC:TSX)
Last Price: C$1.90 (11/3/2009 3:59pm ET) Price when alert was set: C$1.58
Company Overview
C$1.90 C$1.90 C$4.50 1.92 Million C$535.33 Million
Last Day High 52 Week High Volume Market Cap
+C$0.02/ +1.06% C$1.77 C$0.61 1.07x -C$1.77
Change/% Day Low 52 Week Low Price/Earnings Earnings Per Share
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