Tuesday, October 05, 2010

BHP Billiton versus PotashCorp

Sometimes there are only slight differences between socialist and conservative governments. Socialist governments like to be in business and conservative governments are more inclined to regulate business and almost everything else in our lives. In reality, federal and provincial governments are too involved in our lives.

We are seeing how this plays out regarding BHP Billiton’s bid to buy out the private company, PotashCorp, the world’s largest fertilizer company by capacity. A socialist government would be more likely to take over the company with our tax dollars. On the other hand we see the SaskParty government deferring to a commissioned study, which they now claim they will have to review for a few weeks before coming to a decision. The federal conservative government will also reserve their decision for about a month or so before we know where they stand.

On the surface it seems like BHP would be better for Saskatchewan as they have indicated the top executives would work out of Saskatoon as opposed to Chicago. From an employee viewpoint Saskatchewan would be better off with BHP. Then there is the matter of Canpotex, the world’s largest exporter of potash, which is wholly owned by the potash producers of Saskatchewan. BHP may not agree to work with Canpotex and from that viewpoint Saskatchewan may be worse off if BHP is successful in taking over PotashCorp.

It’s a tough call, but either way you can count on the provincial and federal governments being too involved in business and our lives regardless of their respective ideologies.