Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Sask gov may sell off crown assets

Potash Corp., a former Saskatchewan crown, is No. 1 on the Toronto Stock Exchange with a value 60 times what it was when it became a private company in 1989. Despite eschewing the privatization of current crowns, Leader-Post political columnist Murray Mandryk says the current provincial government may be poised to divest itself of some crown assets.

Rumours are rife that the new government has engaged the services of CIBC Wood Gundy to sell the government's Saskferco assets at Belle Plaine. There are also rumours the government has entered preliminary discussions to sell off the Navigata SaskTel subsidiary.

Asked about the rumours, Cheveldayoff offered something less than a denial. "At some point, it would be the right time to monetize Saskferco," said Cheveldayoff, although he noted Saskferco wasn't under his ministry.

However, Cheveldayoff is responsible for SaskTel. When asked about selling those subsidiaries, the minister was quick to note Monday his party policy was to, "review all out-of-province operations."

"That's what we're going to do," Cheveldayoff said. "If they're not core, we're going to look at them."

Does that mean all Crown subsidiary assets -- regardless of their value to Saskatchewan taxpayers -- are for sale?

Stay tuned.

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