September 29, 2011 / 2:25 AM / 8 years ago

Owens Illinois hits Venezuela with arbitration claim

* Chavez nationalized its operations last year

* Just the latest case Venezuela faces at ICSID

CARACAS, Sept 28 (Reuters) - U.S. bottle maker Owens Illinois (OI.N) has filed a claim for arbitration against Venezuela at a World Bank tribunal after President Hugo Chavez nationalized its operations in October last year.

The website of the World Bank’s International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) carried brief details of the claim, which was submitted on Monday. It is one of more than 20 ICSID cases being battled by Venezuela.

Chavez has put much of the nation’s economy under state control during his 12 years in power, including multi-billion dollar oil projects run by foreign companies.

The former soldier accused Owens Illinois of destroying the environment and exploiting its workers. Owens Illinois had operated in the South American country for more than 50 years and employed more than 1,000 workers.

Venezuela represented less than 5 percent of the total operating profit for the Perrysburg, Ohio-based company, which was founded in 1903. It describes itself as the world’s largest glass container maker, with 22,000 workers in 21 countries. (Reporting by Eyanir Chinea; Writing by Daniel Wallis; Editing by Todd Eastham)

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