* Canada should have domestic firms with global ops -Kvisle
* Talisman not seeking buyers
* Sees shift to more joint ventures with foreign companies
By Jeffrey Jones
CALGARY, Alberta, Dec 10 The chief executive of
Talisman Energy, which had been seen as a possible takeover
target for an Asian state enterprise, on Monday praised Canada's
new restrictions on purchases by foreign state-owned entities.
With Canada's approval of the $15.1 billion takeover of
Nexen Inc by China's CNOOC Ltd, it is
important that the country keep some homegrown oil companies
with global reach, such as Talisman, CEO Hal Kvisle
told reporters after speaking to a business audience.
Calgary-based Talisman had drawn speculation as the next
possible target of an Asian state enterprise due to a structure
similar to that of Nexen and a weakened share price.
The new foreign investment guidelines issued on Friday
appear to make such a transaction much more difficult. Under the
new rules, future bids for control of oil sands businesses by
state-owned enterprises would be allowed only in exceptional
circumstances. It is widely expected that other big takeovers by
foreign state-owned enterprises would also be much harder now.
"Like Nexen, Talisman's biggest asset in Canada is the
organization and the people in the corporate headquarters,"
Kvisle said. "I think it's very much in Canada's interest to
have some strong international players that continue to be
headquartered and financed and managed where the innovative
thinking comes out of Calgary."
Kvisle, former CEO of TransCanada Corp, was
appointed Talisman's boss in September as the company struggled
with weak natural gas prices and some investor discomfort with
its portfolio of assets spread across many countries.
In October, Kvisle announced a new era of conservatism at
the company, with plans to cut spending by 25 percent and exit
unprofitable regions. Its main operating areas now are in
Canada, the United States, North Sea and Southeast Asia.
"That's the company we're trying to create as we turn
Talisman around -- an international company but headquartered in
Calgary, and not a company that's trolling around looking for
someone to buy it," Kvisle said.
Talisman shares closed down 9 Canadian cents at C$10.93 on
the Toronto Stock Exchange on Monday, the first day of trading
after Ottawa announced its blessings on the takeovers of Nexen
as well as the acquisition of Progress Energy Resources Corp
by Malaysia's Petronas.
Some investors had expected a steeper drop in stocks that
had been seen as potential takeover targets.
However, Kvisle said he believes investors had largely
factored in odds that Nexen and Progress could be the last major
takeovers by foreign state-owned enterprises for awhile as
Ottawa deliberated over the issue in the months leading up to
"Most observers, most industry people, have concluded that
it's a good idea to have the Nexen deal go through because it
was submitted in good faith in accordance with all of the rules,
and the Chinese have bent over backwards to accommodate the
concerns of the government of Canada," he said.
"But it's time to take a breath, step back and put up a
yield sign for awhile. Not a stop sign, but a yield sign."
Kvisle said he does not believe that new restrictions will
mean a drop in capital available for Canadian energy, but a
shift in focus to more joint ventures.