A Canadian national construction association is opposing the takeover of contractor Aecon by a Chinese state-owned company because it says the new entity would have all the financial clout of the Chinese state behind it, making fair competition impossible.
The Canadian Construction Association (CCA) wants the government of Justin Trudeau (pictured) to lengthen the review of the sale of Aecon to CCCC International Holding (CCCI), a unit of the sprawling China Communications Construction Company.
We want a level playing field. Government-owned and government-controlled entities have completely different access to capital and can be influenced by political agendas– Chris McNally, CCA chair
The takeover offer, for approximately CAN$1.5bn, was announced in October last year and Aecon shareholders voted overwhelmingly in favour of it in December, but the deal is subject to review under the Canada Investment Act.
Following months of lobbying against the deal by some of Canada’s largest contractors, the CCA has now weighed in publicly to mobilise its 20,000 members to oppose it along with any government-owned or controlled entities competing for construction contracts.
"This is not about competition from foreign construction companies – this is about foreign governments being in the construction business in Canada," said CCA chair Chris McNally in a 26 January statement.
"We want a level playing field. Government-owned and government-controlled entities have completely different access to capital and can be influenced by political agendas."
The CCA has asked the government to extend the time for review of the CCCI transaction to allow for "more fulsome input from industry", and urged its members to express their opposition to the government.
The organisation says it represents more than 20,000 member firms in Canada.
Image: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during the 2017 Canada Summer Games (Wikimedia Commons)