Canada will attract foreign capital despite greater scrutiny: experts

CALGARY – A portfolio manager says Canada’s resource sector will continue to attract capital from foreign state-owned enterprises even though oilsands takeover deals will face greater scrutiny from now on.

Ottawa approved two major deals today — a Chinese takeover of Nexen Inc. (TSX:NXY) and a Malaysian takeover of Progress Energy (TSX:PRQ).

But Prime Minister Stephen Harper says not to expect a free-for-all going forward as his government will only consider future oilsands takeovers by state-owned enterprises in exceptional circumstances.

John Stephenson with First Asset Investment Management says SOEs will continue to grab minority stakes in projects and snap up smaller players.

That’s essentially keeping up with what foreign companies have been doing in Canada for years, through deals with companies such as Athabasca Oil Corp. (TSX:ATH) and Penn West Exploration (TSX:PWT).

John Manley, the head of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, says the decision sends a positive signal to investors in Canada and around the world.