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Canada's Telus Calls for Relaxing of Foreign Shareholder Limits

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The head of the Canadian telco, Telus has called on the government to change the rules about foreign shareholders in telecommunications firms in order to create a level playing field in the industry.

Currently foreign shareholders are limited to a third of the company if the company has a market share above 10 percent. However smaller operators can be wholy owned by foreign companies, and Globalive is has just had its minority shareholders bought out by Egypt's Naguib Sawiris.

Telus's CEO, Darren Entwistle told the Globe and Mail newspaper that the current two-tier system gives "opportunistic" foreign investors an unfair advantage over domestic companies.

"We believe in market liberalization. We don't think that there should be any artificial regulation or fettered access to international capital markets. We want to enjoy that on a fluid basis," said Mr. Entwistle.

"One thing I could say with confidence, I do think the telecommunications industry will get fully liberalized. It is not a question of if, but rather when," he added though.

He is calling for a plan to relax the shareholder limits to be implimented over the next three to five years.

Telus recently had to deal with concerns that it was in breach of the foreign shareholder limits following an attempt by a US hedge fund to build up a controversial stake in the company.

On the web: Globe and Mail

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Tags: telus  Canada