Navigator Holdings climbs in market debut

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NEW YORK (AP) - Navigator Holdings Ltd.'s stock is rising in its first day on the New York Stock Exchange.

Shares of the owner and operator of a fleet of liquefied gas carriers climbed 95 cents, or 5 percent, to $19.95 in Thursday morning trading.

Navigator, backed by billionaire investor Wilbur Ross, said its initial public offering of 12 million shares _ raised from 11.3 million _ priced at $19 each. That's at the high end of the projected range of $17 to $19 per share.

Navigator is offering about 9 million shares, while certain selling stockholders are offering about 3 million shares. Navigator won't receive any proceeds from shares sold by the selling stockholders.

The selling stockholders are giving the underwriters a 30-day option to buy up to an additional 1.8 million shares.

The company raised $228 million from the offering.

Navigator anticipates receiving approximately $156.4 million in net proceeds, which it plans to use to fund about $72.7 million due under purchase agreements for some vessels to be delivered in 2015. The remaining proceeds are expected to be used for general corporate purposes.

Ross' company acquired a majority interest in Navigator following the bankruptcy of former owner Lehman Bros. Inc.

The stock is trading under the "NVGS" ticker symbol. The offering is expected to close on Tuesday.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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