Quebec Liberals promise foreign takeover rules
The Canadian Press
Published Monday, August 13, 2012 1:40PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, August 13, 2012 2:57PM EDT
MONTREAL -- The Charest Liberals say they want to become more active in foreign takeovers -- in financing them abroad, and blocking them at home.
The governing party says that if it's re-elected it would create a $1 billion fund to help Quebec companies buy properties outside the province, with a special focus on the mining sector and in emerging powerhouses like Brazil, Russia, India and China.
The Liberals also want to create conditions to make it harder for foreign companies to acquire Quebec ones.
They say they would allow a company's board of directors to repel a hostile takeover bid if they deem it to be against the interest of workers, or the greater community.
At a news conference today, Premier Jean Charest and Finance Minister Raymond Bachand offered scant details on how their takeover-blocking strategy would work, or through what mechanism it would be introduced. They said they were simply following the lead of nearly three-dozen U.S. states with similar anti-takeover rules.
All three major parties in this election have proposed rules to thwart foreign takeovers in Quebec, a timely subject given the attempted acquisition of the Rona hardware chain (TSX:RON) by the U.S. giant Lowe's.
Unlike the Liberals, the other parties propose creating multibillion-dollar funds within the Caisse de depot pension-fund manager to buy up shares in companies threatened with foreign takeovers.
The Parti Quebecois, which is leading in the polls, would direct the Caisse to devote $10 billion, from its $160 billion in overall assets, to such a fund.
Quebecers vote Sept. 4.