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Canada terminates review of BHP Billiton's Potash Corp bid
Date: 2010/11/18 Click: 1078
In the wake of BHP Billiton's sudden withdrawal of its 40-billion-dollar bid for acquisition of Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. Potash Corp on Sunday, Canadian Minister of Industry Tony Clement said that the move terminates the review process because there is no longer a transaction to review.

The BHP's announcement comes about 10 days after the Canadian government blocked the takeover on Nov. 3 but gave the mining giant 30 days to make additional representations before Ottawa for a "final decision."

"I have been informed that BHP Billiton has withdrawn its application for review and informed its shareholders of this decision," Clement said in a statement. "Under the Investment Canada Act (ICA), this terminates the review process because there is no longer a transaction to review."

Clement said Canada continues to welcome foreign investment for all the benefits it brings, including new ideas, sources of capital, and job creation.

"Our policy has always been clear," he said. "Simply put, foreign investment is in the best interests of Canada and an open global economy."

The Investment Canada Act allows Ottawa to block any deal worth 299 million dollars or more if the government finds it doesn't provide "net benefits" to Canadians.

Clement also appreciated BHP Billiton's good faith and integrity throughout this process, hinting the possibility of ICA improving.

"The ICA is in place to ensure that major foreign investments in our economy are likely to be of net benefit to Canada," he said. "Our government recognizes, however, that there may be ways to improve the review process."

But Clement stressed that any changes deemed necessary will be addressed by his government in a responsible and appropriate manner.

BHP Billiton began a hostile take-over attempt of Potash Corp in August, but the bid was opposed by the government of the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, which owned the company until 1991. Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall threatened legal action if BHP Billiton was allowed to take over Potash Corp.

The deal would have been worth almost 40 billion U.S. dollars and would have given BHP Billiton dominance of the world potash market.
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