Wall Seeks Saskatchewan Resolution Urging Rejection of BHP Bid for Potash
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall’s government will introduce a motion in the legislature asking the federal government to reject BHP Billiton Ltd.’s $40 billion hostile offer for Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. on concern that it would harm the province.
The proposed takeover “presents too many risks to the people of our province and fails to provide a net benefit to Saskatchewan and Canada,” Wall said in the text of a so-called Throne Speech, which opened a new legislative session today. The speech didn’t give a timeframe for debate on the motion.
Canadian Industry Minister Tony Clement told reporters in Ottawa today he is still gathering facts in a review of whether the bid meets a ‘net benefits” test, and he has until Nov. 3 to rule unless BHP Billiton agrees to an extension. Potash Corp., based in Saskatoon, has rejected BHP’s $130-a-share offer as too low and said it was seeking alternatives amid rising prices for agricultural commodities.
“No matter who owns the potash mines, the potash belongs to the people of Saskatchewan,” said the speech written by Wall’s government and read by Lieutenant Governor Gordon Barnhart. “This principle, and the best interests of our province and its people, will guide the actions of my government in its deliberations on this important matter.”
Former Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin said the bid needs careful scrutiny because the provincial government has objected to the sale.
‘Saskatchewan Has Spoken’
“The government of Saskatchewan has spoken,” Martin said in a Bloomberg Television interview in London today. “People have got to give full consideration to what Saskatchewan is saying.”
Saskatchewan’s energy minister Bill Boyd said in an interview yesterday there is no need for any new discussions with BHP Billiton and he isn’t aware of any rival bids for Potash Corp. After meeting federal politicians in Ottawa yesterday, he said “it looks like the government is prepared to make a decision on this by the self-imposed deadline.”
Potash Corp. rose $1.75, or 1.2 percent, to $147.30 at 3:34 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. BHP fell 33 pence, or 1.5 percent, to 2,163.5 pence in London.