CALGARY — Construction company Aecon Group Inc. is pushing back against criticism of the sale of the company to Chinese state-owned firm CCCC International Holding Ltd.
The proposed $1.5-billion sale, which shareholders approved in December, has prompted calls for a formal national security review.
The sale has been approved by the Competition Bureau, but still requires clearance through the Investment Canada Act.
The security concerns stems in part from Aecon’s work in the nuclear industry, but Aecon CEO John Beck says that contrary to some reports, the company is not involved in sensitive military installations nor does it own any intellectual property related to nuclear energy.
The sale has also prompted concerns over influence and subsidies from the Communist Party of China, but Beck says the party is involved to advise the CCCC board on Chinese national strategic opportunities.
He says the Chinese firm already owns a construction firm in Australia and an engineering business in the U.S., and that both companies continue to be led by local management as will be the case with Aecon.
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The Canadian Press