Belfast Telegraph

BHP's failed takeover to cost $350m

Mining giant BHP Billiton was facing a $350m (£218m) hit on its failed hostile bid for PotashCorp after the deal was blocked by the Canadian government.

The London-listed group withdrew its $39bn (£24bn) offer for Potash - the world's biggest fertiliser company - late on Sunday, saying it could not meet Canada's stringent demands.

Anglo-Australian miner BHP said the government's requirements would have "conflicted with BHP Billiton's business strategy and been counter to creating shareholder value".

It said the $350m incurred in bid transaction costs would be taken as an exceptional item in next month's interim accounts.

BHP, which employs 41,000 people and has operations in 25 countries, launched a hostile bid for Canada's Potash in late summer after directors of the company refused to back its offer.

BHP is a market leader in the production of coal, copper and iron ore and wanted to snap up the group as it believes demand for agricultural fertiliser ingredients will rise as the developing world requires more meat and plants.

The Canadian government rebuffed BHP's approach two weeks ago and set a 30-day deadline to improve the offer or make further supporting arguments.