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Quebec could be unfriendly turf for SNC-Lavalin Group’s foreign suitors

Any foreign company interested in purchasing SNC-Lavalin will likely receive an unfavourable welcome.

MONTREAL – In a?province that protects its very own and has a history of giving foreign?buyers?a frosty reception, Quebec’s political will is viewed as a major hurdle?for?any suitor circling SNC-Lavalin Group Inc.

Foreign buyers target SNC-Lavalin Group Inc with takeover ambitions: \’People are circling\’

SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. continues to be approached \”informally\” by a minimum of two large foreign engineering firms that are weighing a possible takeover of the beleaguered Canadian engineering and construction giant, the Financial Post realizes.
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“[Quebec economy minister Jacques] Daoust has repeated often over the last few months that SNC-Lavalin is a jewel of Quebec,” said Melissa Turgeon,?press attach for the Quebec Ministry of the Economy, Innovation and Exports, in an email.

Daoust?says the president of SNC-Lavalin assured him that today the Canadian engineering giant isn\’t for sale.

In an e-mail to the Financial Post, Turgeon?said the minister spoke with the president and chief executive officer of SNC-Lavalin, Robert Card, Wednesday morning and was told the company is not currently in takeover talks?with potential buyers.

SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. continues to be approached \”informally\” by a minimum of two large foreign engineering firms that are weighing a possible takeover, according to Financial Post sources acquainted with events at the Montreal-based company.

Shares of SNC rose around 3.75 percent in Toronto hitting an intraday high of $47.25 on Wednesday morning before settling at $46.51.

“I like the idea of any takeover. We want all of our companies to obtain taken over if the price is right,” said David Taylor of?Taylor Asset Management, that is a top-ten SNC shareholder on behalf of its clients.

“People see this one like a company that has struggled, it\’s some good assets, it\’s from favour, the valuation is attractive and it\’s cheap relative to its peers.”

Among the potential buyers considered interested are giant Spanish civil and engineering firm Actividades de Construccion y Servicios S.A. (ACS), whose subsidiaries currently partner with SNC on a number of projects; and Australia\’s WorleyParsons, which has publicly stated it would like to expand its presence in Canada.

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