Skip Navigation

Business

Canadian province asks for BHP's Potash bid to be blocked

Stephen Harper, Canadian Prime Minister; Image courtesy of World Economic Forum - Remy Steinegger

Stephen Harper, Canadian Prime Minister; Image courtesy of World Economic Forum - Remy Steinegger

Saskatchewan, the province in which Potash Corp is located, has urged its government to block BHP’s bid to buy the fertiliser supplier.

The province said BHP’s $39bn bid to buy the company would hurt jobs and revenues in Saskatchewan. It added that an estimated C$3bn in revenues could be lost because of royalty payment structures.

Potash is one of Canada’s largest resource firms and demand for its products is set to grow even further over the next few years as sales in emerging markets increase.

“We must say no to this hostile takeover,” said Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall. “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."

The federal government now have to decide if a takeover by the Anglo-Australian miner would bring a “net benefit” to Canada. Under the Investment Canada Act, IT can only allow a takeover by a foreign company if this is the case.

The battle between the companies has been ongoing since BHP made its hostile bid two months ago.

It is understood Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper may come under pressure to allow the takeover because of his party’s pro-business ethos. Some analysts believe that if he says no to the bid, the wrong message is being sent to foreign investors.

Since rejecting BHP’s $130-per-share offer, Potash has expected other bids but none have arrived. Asian chemicals company Sinochem pulled out of the race last week.