Canada Blocks Network Sale To Egypt’s Sawiris, Citing Security

The surprise move by the country’s Conservative government was made with little explanation and comes as many question its appetite for foreign investment in sectors ranging from telecommunications to oil sands. Manitoba Telecom Services Inc (MTS) had announced in May it would sell its Allstream fiber optic network for C$520 million to Accelero Capital Holdings, which is controlled by the Egyptian telecom magnate. But MTS said late on Monday the federal government blocked the deal, citing “unspecified national security concerns.” The government also rejected MTS and Accelero’s offer to take necessary actions to address those concerns, the company said in a statement on Monday. Canadian Industry Minister James Moore confirmed in a brief statement that the deal was blocked under the national security provisions of the Investment Canada Act. The statement did not provide any specific details on the government’s concerns, but it noted that MTS Allstream operates a national fiber optic network that provides critical telecom services to businesses and governments, including the Canadian government. The government declined to comment further. TAKEOVERS RARELY BLOCKED Canada has rarely used its veto power to block a foreign acquisition of a Canadian asset under the Investment Canada Act. The legislation gives the government wide-ranging powers to review whether such deals are of “net benefit” to the country and whether they pose a threat to national security. In 2010 it blocked mining giant BHP Billiton’s $39 billion bid for the world’s top fertilizer company Potash Corp, stating that the deal was not of “net benefit” to Canada. This followed a 2008 decision to block MacDonald Dettwiler’s attempt to sell its satellite division to Alliant Techsystems Inc, due to national security concerns. The rejection of the Allstream deal comes as struggling smartphone maker BlackBerry Ltd, one of Canada’s best- known technology companies, is in talks with foreign players including Cisco Systems, Google Inc and SAP about selling them all or parts of itself, sources have told Reuters.

Canada crude – Synthetic and heavy grades inch higher

That compares with a settlement price of $12.60 per barrel below the benchmark on Friday, the widest differential since the first quarter of 2012, according to Reuters data. After trading at a premium to WTI for much of the summer, synthetic prices have fallen sharply in recent weeks on strong production from Syncrude’s northern Alberta oil sands project. Suncor Energy Inc said on Monday it had completed maintenance on its U2 oil sands upgrader, meaning more supply is set to reach the market. One Calgary trader said synthetic crude found buyers on Monday simply because it was “really cheap” at current levels. Western Canada Select heavy blend for November delivery last traded at $32.60 per barrel below the West Texas Intermediate benchmark, according to Shorcan Energy brokers. That compares with a settlement price of $33.25 per barrel below the benchmark on Friday. Heavy oil has traded in a range roughly between $31.90 and $33.50 per barrel below WTI since the October trading window opened last week, weakened by a ramp-up in production from Imperial Oil’s Kearl mining project. Increasing apportionment on Enbridge Inc’s pipeline export network in October has also weighed down Canadian crude prices amid worries production will get stranded in Alberta. @yahoofinance on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook Related Content Chart Your most recently viewed tickers will automatically show up here if you type a ticker in the “Enter symbol/company” at the bottom of this module. You need to enable your browser cookies to view your most recent quotes. Search for share prices Terms Quotes are real-time for NASDAQ, NYSE, and NYSEAmex when available. See also delay times for other exchanges .