News Release - October 21, 2010
PREMIER WALL SAYS PROVINCE CANNOT SUPPORT POTASH TAKEOVER BID
Premier Brad Wall today said the proposed takeover of PotashCorp by BHP Billiton does not provide a "net benefit" to the people of Saskatchewan and Canada.
"Therefore, the Province of Saskatchewan cannot support the current takeover bid by BHP Billiton," Wall said.
Wall said the government has carefully evaluated the takeover bid and determined that it fails the "net benefit" test in three key areas; jobs and investment, Canadian control of an important Canadian resource, and provincial revenues.
"BHP Billiton's public statements about Canpotex and about operating at full production create serious concern about the future of Canpotex," Wall said. "This in turn puts $6 billion worth of capital expansion and thousands of jobs at risk."
Wall said the proposed takeover also puts at risk a strategic natural resource.
"The people of Saskatchewan are justifiably proud of PotashCorp and the success it has achieved here and around the world," Wall said. "Do we want to add PotashCorp to that list of once-proud Canadian companies that are now under foreign control?"
Wall also said a BHP Billiton takeover would mean a significant loss in provincial revenues that are needed to fund roads, schools and hospitals.
"That revenue is also needed to keep our tax levels competitive for other businesses and for Saskatchewan families," Wall said.
Premier Wall also expressed concerns about the ability of federal authorities to enforce restrictions, should approval be granted with specific conditions.
"In the past decade, promises about maintaining jobs, corporate headquarters and future investment have all been broken," Wall said. "We simply cannot take that risk with this valuable resource that belongs to the people of Saskatchewan."
Wall said the answer "no" is not unprecedented.
"When Shell bid $10 billion for a controlling stake in the leading company developing Australia's offshore natural gas reserves, an answer came in April of 2001, and that answer was also ‘no'," Wall said. "Australia's then-Treasurer, Peter Costello, said it was in the country's best interests to have these offshore reserves to be 'unequivocally managed, operated and marketed for Australia'.
"It's our government's belief that the people of Saskatchewan deserve nothing less than a potash industry unequivocally managed, operated and marketed for the benefit of Canada and Saskatchewan."
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