Magma Energy CEO Ross Beaty told the Financial Times that he is considering delaying or even canceling moving forward with the HS Orka purchase, due to “political uncertainty”.
As Grapevine reported, the Icelandic government said last week that it would not confirm the Canadian company’s purchase of HS Orka, Iceland’s third largest power company, pending further investigation into the deal.
“We do not want to walk away. But we have shareholders who are getting pretty frustrated with what’s happening,” he told the Financial Times. He added that he thought Icelanders would welcome Magma Energy with open arms in these hard financial times, and was surprised that people appeared resistant to a private company owning the a portion of the nation’s natural resources.
“We are being made a scapegoat for all the bad business practices leading up to the financial meltdown and the tremendous fear and mistrust it created,” he said.
Perhaps not surprisingly, this has prompted some in Iceland to cry foul. Vilhjálmur Egilsson, the chairman of the Icelandic Confederation of Employers, told RÚV that if the Magma deal is shut down by the government, that no foreign investors will ever approach Iceland again, and likened the country itself to a “banana republic”.
However, Minister of Industry Katrín Júlíusdóttir dismissed the outrage, telling Eyjan, “There’s no need to have any worries. We are an open society and have welcomed foreign investors in other areas, and will continue to do so.”