A top Canadian official said his country is not satisfied with the $5.3 billion bid by Malaysian state energy firm Petronas to buy the Canadian gas producer Progress Energy Resources.
“I can confirm that I have sent a notice letter to Petronas indicating that I am not satisfied that the proposed investment is likely to be of net benefit to Canada,” Industry Minister Christian Paradis said in a statement Friday.
The two energy companies signed a deal in June for the purchase, saying it was aimed at securing stable supplies of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from North America. But the transaction must still get a green light from the industry ministry.
Paradis said the Malaysian group had 30 days to “make any additional representations and submit any further undertakings” for him to take into account in his final decision on whether to approve the acquisition.
Citing confidentiality provisions in the law governing such investments, Paradis declined to give further details.
According to the terms of the deal, Petronas would pay 22.45 Canadian dollars (US $22.60) a share for Progress Energy, a 77 percent premium over the stock price at market close on Wednesday.
Last year Petronas established a joint venture with Progress Energy to develop a portion of the Canadian company’s shale assets and an integrated LNG export facility in western Canada.
There is growing demand for liquefied natural gas in Asia’s energy-hungry economies, especially in Japan where power firms have had to step up conventional electricity generation with the country’s nuclear plants shut down.
Public skepticism of nuclear technology has grown in Japan after last year’s tsunami swamped the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, sending it into meltdown and causing the world’s worst atomic crisis since Chernobyl.