BHP says Potash deal will benefit Canadian region

20th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

Mining giant BHP Billiton Wednesday insisted its 40 billion US dollar hostile bid for Canada's Potash Corp would benefit Saskatchewan after reports the region was poised to reject the deal.

"We continue to believe that the proposed acquisition of Potash Corp will create net benefits for Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Canada," BHP said in a statement to the Australian stock exchange.

"We are committed to working with the government of Canada's Investment Review Division to secure the Federal Minister of Industry's approval."

It follows a Wall Street Journal report that the Saskatchewan government would reject the bid for the fertiliser company unless BHP offered three billion Canadian dollars (2.9 billion US) in compensation for lost revenue.

The world's biggest miner said it would make "significant commitments" to ensure regional Canada gained from the deal, including basing its global potash business in Saskatchewan's Saskatoon.

BHP said it was also confident of addressing the regional administration's revenue concerns and was "prepared to make commitments which go beyond the requirements of prevailing Canadian legislation".

"BHP Billiton is willing to commit substantial resources to a province and a country that it believes is a welcome place to invest," said Andrew Mackenzie, chief of BHP's non-ferrous sector.

"We are ready to underline our commitment to Canada with substantial undertakings on jobs, taxes, investment and community spending that will create immediate benefits for the people of Saskatchewan and the nation more broadly."

A rebuff from Saskatchewan would not stop the takeover but it would make it harder for BHP to win over the national regulator, the Journal said. BHP also needs the approval of shareholders in Potash, the world's largest fertiliser maker.

Saskatchewan will announce its decision on Thursday, a spokeswoman for the regional government told Dow Jones Newswires.

© 2010 AFP

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