Canada mum on Petronas bid for Progress as deadline approaches


SAINT-HUBERT, Quebec (Reuters) - Canada declined to say on Friday whether it had approved Malaysian state oil company Petronas' C$5.2 billion ($5.3 billion) bid for gas producer Progress Energy Resources Corp , even as a midnight eastern (0400 GMT) deadline approached.

Earlier this month, Industry Minister Christian Paradis extended the review period for the bid to Friday. Officials said he would not make an announcement while markets were open.

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"I won't comment on any specifics. When the decision is ... made, I will announce it properly," Paradis told reporters in the town of Saint-Hubert, Quebec, outside Montreal.

Contacted after markets had closed, Paradis spokeswoman Margaux Stastny referred Reuters back to the Minister's comments from earlier in the day.

If approved, the acquisition would mark the first time an Asian state investor has bought out its Canadian partner in a gas project.

Developments on Petronas' bid may also offer clues as to whether Canada will approve CNOOC Ltd's <0883.HK> landmark $15.1 billion for Nexen Inc . The deadline for that review is November 11.

($1=$0.99 Canadian)

(Reporting by Leila Lemghalef, writing by David Ljunggren; Editing by Bernadette Baum, Bernard Orr)