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UPDATE 1-Blackstone-backed Vine Energy opens below offer price in market debut

(Adds background, company financials)

March 18 (Reuters) - Shares of Vine Energy Inc fell 2% in their market debut on Thursday, after the Blackstone-backed natural gas explorer failed to impress investors in what was the first initial public offering by a U.S. shale producer since 2017.

The lacklustre debut underscores a lack of investor optimism towards the shale industry, despite oil and natural gas prices rebounding from last year, when they crashed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vine Energy’s stock opened at $13.75 per share, giving the company a valuation of $952.7 million.

The stock’s opening trade is a rare departure from the trend of eye-popping stock market debuts as the U.S. capital markets enjoy a record run. Tech heavyweights Coupang Inc, Roblox Corp and Airbnb all surged in their market debuts.

Vine Energy priced its offering of 21.5 million shares at $14 per share on Wednesday, below the expected range. The company raised $301 million in its IPO.

Vine Energy earlier reported a pro forma net loss of $98.3 million on total revenue of $378.7 million for the year ended Dec. 31, 2020.

Citigroup, Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley were the lead underwriters for the offering. (Reporting by Niket Nishant in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Krishna Chandra Eluri)

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