Saskatchewan premier shuns BHP golden share

By Rod Nickel

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (BestGrowthStock) – Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said on Thursday he doesn’t want a golden share in BHP Billiton’s (BHP.AX: ) potash business as a means of easing the Canadian province’s concerns about the Anglo-Australian miner’s $39 billion takeover bid for Potash Corp (POT.TO: ).

A golden share would ostensibly give Saskatchewan influence over how BHP produces and markets potash, a key crop nutrient, but Wall said in an interview with Reuters that he doubts it would effectively ease the province’s concerns.

Potash Corp, the world’s biggest fertilizer producer, is based in Saskatchewan and most of its potash mines are there.

“We’re really focused on ‘no,’ (to the bid),” Wall said. “The success of golden shares in exercising some more authority on the part of governments is almost as suspect as promises given under the Investment Canada review process.”

Saskatchewan is concerned that a BHP takeover would cost it up to C$6 billion ($5.9 billion) in lost taxes and royalties over 10 years, as well as jobs and strategic influence over a key crop nutrient.

The Canadian government is scheduled to rule by November 3 on whether BHP’s bid can proceed, based on whether it holds a net benefit for the country.

Wall said that he is growing more confident that Ottawa will reject BHP’s bid after the premier of Alberta said he stands with Saskatchewan in opposing the deal.

“I think it is fair to say that there’s a bit more optimism because that kind of provincial support from another very resource-rich province … that’s a big development in the story,” Wall, adding that he doesn’t have any inside knowledge of how Ottawa’s review of the bid is going.

Wall also said he’s not aware of any rival bid developing for Potash backed by Saskatchewan aboriginal bands.

($1=$1.02 Canadian)

(Editing by Peter Galloway)

Saskatchewan premier shuns BHP golden share