KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysian state oil company Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) said Canadian policy on foreign investment has left potential investors confused, saying the energy industry has “no clue” about its new framework for foreign investment.
The Malaysian firm’s initial bid for Canada’s Progress Energy Resources (PRQ.TO) was blocked by the Canadian government last month when Industry Minister Christian Paradis said it was unlikely to bring a “net benefit” to Canada.
Petronas resubmitted a $5.2 billion bid for the firm earlier this month, but its CEO Shamsul Azhar Abbas told reporters on Thursday that Canada’s requirements remained unclear.
“The whole industry has no clue on what the framework is going to be. Whatever it is, we leave it to them now,” Shamsul added, after the company released third-quarter results. [ID:nL4N0991YA]. He said that Petronas had now given the Canadian authorities what it felt was what they needed to show a “net benefit”.
Canada has said it will unveil new policy guidelines on foreign investment at about the time it announces verdicts on the Petronas offer for Progress Energy and a much bigger $15.1 billion takeover bid by China’s CNOOC Ltd (0883.HK) for Nexen Inc NXY.TO NXY.N, a Canadian oil company.
A review period for the CNOOC deal has been extended to December 10.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Wednesday that decisions would be made soon on the two bids, even though U.S. regulatory authorities this week signaled they may delay approving the deals.
When Paradis rejected the Petronas offer, the Malaysian group was given time to resubmit its bid with additional undertakings. Petronas and Progress Energy - which plan a multi-billion dollar liquefied natural gas plant on Canada’s west coast - have extended a deadline to complete the deal to December 30, the two firms said in a statement last week.
(This story has been corrected to remove reference to Petronas being unaware of new investment framework when it resubmitted its bid)
Reporting By Al Zaquan Amer Hamzah; Writing by Siva Sithraputhran; Editing by Ian Geoghegan