(Reuters) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced the nationalization on Thursday of the country’s cement industry, extending a wave of state takeovers from 2007 meant to create a socialist state.
The self-styled revolutionary last year launched a broad nationalization campaign in the energy and telecommunications industries as part of a crusade to boost government control over the economy.
The cement sector takeover will affect Mexico’s Cemex, France’s Lafarge and Switzerland’s Holcim.
The following are the principal nationalizations that have been carried out by the Chavez government and the foreign companies affected by the takeovers:
During the second half of last year, Venezuela took a majority stake in four heavy oil projects operating in the Orinoco river basin worth an estimated total of $30 billion.
U.S. companies Exxon and ConocoPhillips quit the OPEC nation over the move and filed arbitration claims against Venezuela seeking compensation.
France’s Total and Norway’s StatoilHydro received a combined total of about $1 billion in compensation after agreeing to reduce their holdings to stay on in the projects.
Britain’s and America’s Chevron remained as minority partners without losing share in their projects.
Industry analysts said those companies who chose to stay were mainly motivated by a desire to keep a foothold in a country with some of the largest reserves outside the Middle East.
The Chavez government early last year nationalized CANTV, the nation’s largest telecommunications company, buying out U.S.-based Verizon Communications’ 28.5 stake for $572 million. Analysts said Verizon received fair compensations for its assets.
Venezuela early last year expropriated the assets of U.S. based AES Corp in Electricidad de Caracas, the nation’s largest private power producer. The government paid AES $740 million for its 82 percent stake in the company. Financial analysts described the deal as fair for AES.
As part of its electricity sector takeover, Venezuela also paid U.S.-based CMS Energy $106 million for its 88 percent stake in power producer Seneca that operated on the tourist Caribbean island of Margarita.
Reporting By Patricia Rondon Espin, Writing by Brian Ellsworth, Editing by Saul Hudson