17 February 2009

NALCO handling expropriation talks: AbitibiBowater

The province’s energy corporation is handling talks on compensation with AbitibiBowater for the latter’s expropriated assets, according to AbitibiBowater chief executive officer David Paterson in a Globe and Mail story Tuesday.

Abitibi executives are dealing with the pending transfer of assets through talks with the province's hydro utility, which is handling the issue of valuation. "We are in a dialogue indirectly with the government through Newfoundland Hydro," Mr. Paterson said.

Still, he said, the process is very one-sided. "[It] basically consists of Newfoundland telling us what they are going to do and we have to comply."

He said the expropriation legislation does not give the company any right to a judicial hearing. As a result, the determination of value "is at their whim."

The carrying value of the assets is US$300 million, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in the United States.