Foreign direct investment must benefit Canada: Flaherty
Published Sunday, October 21, 2012 12:26PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, October 21, 2012 2:01PM EDT
Days after the federal government rejected a multi-billion dollar bid by Malaysian company Petronas for Calgary-based Progress Energy Resources Corp., Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said the company still has time to revise and resubmit its proposal.
During an interview on CTV’s Question Period Sunday, Flaherty maintained that the Canadian government welcomes foreign direct investment, but any deals must ultimately benefit Canadians. Applications for foreign takeovers, such as the one filed by Petronas, must ultimately “be correct,” said Flaherty.
“(It) has to do with two tests really: the net-benefit test – is the proposal in the net benefit of our country and b) are there any national security concerns,” said Flaherty. “There’s a list of items in the Investment Act itself relating to the net-benefit test, I believe its six items in total that the minister of industry has to regard.”
Flaherty said that Petronas now has a period of time to work on and address the concerns the Department of Industry expressed over its proposal.
Flaherty’s comments came just days after the federal government announced the rejection of the $6 billion bid by Petronas to take over Progress Energy Resources Corp.
Late Friday, Industry Minister Christian Paradis said a notice had been sent to Petronas informing the company its proposal would not likely be of net benefit to Canada.
The company now has 30 days to revise and resubmit its proposal, although Paradis can extend the time period.
Paradis said that if the proposal is resubmitted, he will either confirm his initial rejection or approve the acquisition.
Petronas and Progress partnered in 2011 after deciding to develop shale natural gas in northeastern B.C. The joint venture was aimed at exporting gas in liquid form from the West Coast.
In a statement released late Saturday, Progress said it was “disappointed” in the government’s decision.
"Progress will be working over the next 30 days to determine the nature of the issues and the potential remedies" Michael Culbert, Progress’ president and CEO, said in the statement.
"The long-term health of the natural gas industry in Canada and the development of a new LNG export industry are dependent on international investments such as Petronas’."
The rejection of the Petronas bid came amid the ongoing review of a bid by Asian-based firm, China National Offshore Oil Co., or CNOOC, which is vying to buy Nexen.
The review of the proposed $15.1 billion takeover of the Calgary oil company has been extended until mid-November.