MTS head says Allstream rejection baffling
OTTAWA - The head of Manitoba Telecom Services says Ottawa has reached a new level of confusion over what is permitted under foreign investment rules.
Chief executive Pierre Blouin says he remains baffled about the reasons behind Industry Minister James Moore's surprise decision to quash the sale of his firm's Allstream division to an Egyptian investment group for $520 million.
The minister cited national security provisions under the Investment Canada Act for the rejection in a statement issued late Monday.
Blouin says he's received little clarity than what was contained in the brief statement, adding that he believed the sale was a no-brainer given that the government had opened the door to foreign ownership for small telecom players.
He says the government had expressed no concerns during the five-month review process up until the final rejection was announced.
A European Union official in Ottawa told reporters Tuesday that at times, it's not clear to foreign investors how the government arrives at decisions to green light or nix foreign investments.
Last week, foreign industry minister Jim Prentice warned that the government was chasing away needed foreign investment with its new regulations against state-owned enterprises buying into the oil patch.
Shares in Manitoba Telecom (TSX:MBT) fell $2.63, or 8.13 per cent, at $29.73 in early afternoon trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.