Canada finance minister says oil merger important

Tue Mar 24, 2009 8:13am EDT
 
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said on Tuesday Suncor Energy's proposed takeover of Petro-Canada is an important deal for Canada and for the oil patch.

Flaherty, speaking to CTV television, said it was a "good thing" that regulators were reviewing the deal to ensure fair competition in the oil industry, but added that, "We believe in investment as well in this country. We want to grow this economy."

Suncor has agreed to acquire Petro-Canada for C$18.43 billion ($14.9 billion) to create Canada's largest oil company.

"It has to be reviewed by the Competition Bureau and its quasi-judicial function will deal with that," Flaherty said.

"It's important for Canada overall and for development of the oil patch."

Flaherty also has a role in approving the deal because his ministry is responsible for legislation affecting the formerly state-owned Petro-Canada that prohibited anyone from holding more than 20 percent of the company.

Ron Brenneman, Petro-Canada's chief executive, said on Monday that because of the structure of the agreement, he expected the existing legislation will now apply to the new company, which will retain the Suncor name.

Flaherty did not comment on that aspect of the deal.

($1=$1.23 Canadian)

(Reporting by Louise Egan, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

 
<p>Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty speaks at a news conference following the G20 Finance Ministers meeting at a hotel, near Horsham, in southern England March 14,2009. REUTERS/Kevin Coombs</p>