Chavez orders nationalisation of Venezuelan cement makers

April 5th, 2008 - 1:12 am ICT by admin  

Caracas/Mexico City, April 4 (DPA) Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez ordered the nationalisation of his country’s cement industry, a sector led by the Mexican company Cemex. Cemex’s stock fell Friday and the Mexican Foreign Ministry said it had contacted the Venezuelan government “to find out the extent and the nature of the comments” of Chavez, which were made late Thursday.

The left-wing leader Chavez complained that cement makers were exporting their produce and causing scarcity in the Venezuelan market. The move comes after Chavez nationalised oil and other sectors last year.

“These firms export cement, it is capitalism. Let us nationalise it and from that instance on let us adopt all legal measures, all economic measures to nationalise in the short run the entire national cement industry, everything that has been privatised,” Chavez said in a televised address.

The Venezuelan president guaranteed current owners that they would be compensated for their assets.

Last year, the Venezuelan government had nationalised the state communications company CANTV, the power company Electricidad de Caracas, and the heavy oil production complexes on the Orinoco Basin in eastern Venezuela.

Cemex, one of the largest construction companies in the world, has a 52 percent share of the Venezuelan market.

“We are going to request a meeting with the Venezuelan government in order to know the real dimension of the move,” Cemex spokesman Gerardo de la Torre told Mexican daily Reforma.

The Swiss Holcim and the French giant Lafarge are also players in the Venezuelan cement industry.

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