Murray Edwards boosts Canexus stake to 9.5% as it works through hostile takeover

CALGARY – Billionaire energy executive Murray Edwards has boosted his stake in Canexus Corp. to 9.5 per cent as it works through a hostile takeover by Chemtrade Logistics Income Fund.

The Canadian Natural Resources chairman said Friday he has snapped up 1.2-million shares since Toronto-based Chemtrade made its revised bid on Oct. 4, bringing his total holdings to 17.7-million shares.

Chemtrade said on Oct. 3 that it was going ahead with a hostile bid for Calgary-based Canexus after the maker of sodium chlorate — a chemical used by the pulp and paper industry — refused to constructively engage with Chemtrade about a friendly takeover for weeks.

The hostile offer of $1.50 in cash per share, up from the $1.45 a share Chemtrade had proposed on Sept. 6, values Canexus at about $280 million. The hostile bid will remain on the table until January 18, 2017.

Chemtrade says its revised offer is fair and in line with what was offered by Superior Plus, which had attempted a friendly deal with Canexus that fell apart after a U.S. agency said it would raise objections.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission said in June that it would try to block the Superior Plus transaction because of its impact on competition in North America’s sodium chlorate market.

Canexus said on Thursday it had appointed David Collyer as board chair of the committee that would evaluate Chemtrade’s offer. He replaced Hugh Fergusson, who passed away earlier this week.