The Canadian government has postponed until tomorrow its decision on whether or not to join in a financial rescue of Massey-Ferguson Ltd. of Toronto, leaving 50,000 jobs worldwide in jeopardy.
A dramatic giveaway of control of Massey may pave the way for government aid to the financially troubled farm implement maker.
Argus Corp. Ltd., an investment firm, says it plans to donate its control position in Massey to pension plans for the company's Canadian employees.
Argus holds 3 million common shares, or about 16.4 percent of the company stock. Based on the latest price of $7.75 a share, the donation has a market value of $23.25 million.
The financially beleagered Massey company has been trying to enlist aid from the federal and Ontario governments in raising $600 million through a share issue. Massey's major problem is a huge debt load of about $2 billion, much of it in short-term high-rate loans.
Federal Industry MINISTER herb Gray said last month that a decision would be made by the end of September. But the government may have held back on assisting Massey because it feared criticism if the aid gave the appearance of bailing out Argus, the company's largest shareholder.
Massey, Canada's largest multinational manufacturer, shut its North American plants for three months at the end of July.