(Fixes number in paragraph three to $130 from $39)
* Asks Govt. to remain open to reviewing alternative bids
* Says report downplays possible losses faced by province
TORONTO, Oct 5 (Reuters) - Potash Corp (POT.TO) slammed a report commissioned by the province of Saskatchewan that favors BHP Billiton’s (BHP.AX)(BLT.L) $39 billion offer for the fertilizer maker over a potential bid from a state-owned Chinese entity.
The Conference Board’s report, released on Monday, cautioned the provincial government against thwarting BHP’s takeover bid, saying that would depress Potash Corp’s share price and could have a negative impact on new investment in the province.
Potash Corp has rejected BHP’s $130-a-share offer as “grossly inadequate,” and has encouraged other parties to step forward with alternative bids. So far none has surfaced.
Saskatchewan is reviewing the report and will submit its views to the federal government on whether Ottawa should approve a takeover by BHP. Under law, a takeover must carry a “net benefit” to Canada.
“The board of directors of Potash Corp would encourage the government of Saskatchewan to continue to remain open to reviewing alternative bids on a fact-based approach, rather than the speculative approach taken by the Conference Board of Canada’s report,” said the Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based Potash Corp in a regulatory filing.
Potash Corp argues that the Conference Board’s report understates the potential revenue loss faced by the province, in the event of a BHP takeover of Potash Corp. (Reporting by Euan Rocha; Editing by Frank McGurty)