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CARACAS, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Venezuela signed an agreement on Wednesday to pay French cement maker Lafarge SA LAFP.PA more than $250 million for factories it nationalized last year and make a first payment in under a week.
President Hugo Chavez has nationalized much of Venezuela’s industry, including cement and steel works along with multi-billion dollar oil projects.
“Today we reached an agreement,” said Public Works Minister Diosdado Cabello, adding that Venezuela would pay $118 million within 5 days, 40 percent of what it owes.
Cabello said the government was still negotiating with another cement maker, Switzerland’s Holcim HOLN.VX. In July Holcim rejected Venezuela’s offer for its local assets.
The government and Mexican cement-maker Cemex have not come to any agreement, Cabello said.
“We are talking with Holcim and we have the money for the first payment. We have not been able to sit down with Cemex,” he said. (Reporting by Enrique Andres Pretel; editing by Carol Bishopric)