Malaysia's Petronas says "no clue" on Canadian investment policy

Thu Nov 29, 2012 8:18am EST
 

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysian state oil company Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) said it wasn't aware of a new Canadian investment framework when it resubmitted a $5.2 billion bid for Canada's Progress Energy Resources PRQ.TO earlier this month.

The Malaysian firm's initial bid for Progress Energy was blocked by Canada's government last month when Industry Minister Christian Paradis said it was unlikely to bring a "net benefit" to Canada.

Canadian policy on foreign investment has left potential investors confused, Petronas CEO Shamsul Azhar Abbas told reporters on Thursday after the company released third-quarter results. [ID:nL4N0991YA] "We were told of the framework only after submission and we were quite surprised," he said.

"The whole industry has no clue on what the framework is going to be. Whatever it is, we leave it to them now," Shamsul added, noting Petronas gave the Canadian authorities what it felt was what they needed to show a "net benefit".

Canada has said it will unveil new policy guidelines on foreign investment at about the time it announces verdicts on the Petronas offer for Progress Energy and a much bigger $15.1 billion takeover bid by China's CNOOC Ltd (0883.HK: Quote) for Nexen Inc NXY.TO NXY.N, a Canadian oil company.

A review period for the CNOOC deal has been extended to December 10.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Wednesday that decisions would be made soon on the two bids, even though U.S. regulatory authorities this week signaled they may delay approving the deals.

When Paradis rejected the Petronas offer, the Malaysian group was given time to resubmit its bid with additional undertakings. Petronas and Progress Energy - which plan a multi-billion dollar liquefied natural gas plant on Canada's west coast - have extended a deadline to complete the deal to December 30, the two firms said in a statement last week.

(Reporting By Al Zaquan Amer Hamzah; Writing by Siva Sithraputhran; Editing by Ian Geoghegan)

 
A Petronas logo is seen near its twin towers in Kuala Lumpur June 28, 2007. REUTERS/Zainal Abd Halim