08/14/2012 04:24 EDT | Updated 10/14/2012 05:12 EDT

Connacher to sell Montana refinery, conventional oil and gas assets

CALGARY - Connacher Oil and Gas Ltd. has agreed to sell its Montana heavy oil refinery and its conventional oil and gas assets.

The Calgary-based company expects proceeds of between US$155 million and US$170 million from the refinery sale, which is expected to close in October.

"This sale transaction represents one of the steps in the strategic review process initiated by the board of directors earlier this year," the company said in a statement Tuesday.

"The sale capitalizes on the significant value of the refinery arising from the disconnect between North American posted prices, heavy oil differentials and crack spreads, which have resulted in strong refining margins."

Connacher also has plans to sell all of its conventional oil and gas properties to an unidentified buyer for $18.3 million in cash.

Money from the sales are expected to help Connacher grow production at its Great Divide oilsands property.

Connacher (TSX:CLL) hired Goldman Sachs earlier this year to help it review its strategic alternatives.

"Connacher's board of directors continues to actively pursue its strategic review process," the company said Tuesday.

Dick Gusella, who opposed demands from some shareholders to sell the company, left his role as CEO in January.

Last year, West Face Capital urged Connacher to "conduct a broad and comprehensive review of available options to maximize value for all stakeholders."

Gregory Boland, president, CEO and co-chief investment officer at West Face Capital, later joined the company's board of directors.

Shares in Connacher closed down 1.5 cents at 43.5 cents on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Tuesday.