August 22, 2008 / 8:57 PM / 11 years ago

UPDATE 1-Venezuela to renew talks with Cemex after takeover

(Adds vice president quote, details on talks, background)

CARACAS, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Venezuela will renew talks with Mexican cement maker Cemex (CX.N)CMXCPO.MX after the government of President Hugo Chavez expropriated its local operations, Venezuela’s Vice President said on Friday.

Cemex this week said it was filing for arbitration after Venezuela took over its local unit following Chavez’s decision earlier this year to nationalize his country’s cement sector.

“We have made the decision to renew conversations as of Monday, when a new Cemex negotiating team arrives,” Vice President Ramon Carrizalez told reporters.

“We of course have the interest and the intention of reaching an agreement ... that is beneficial for everyone.”

He said the two sides have 60 days to continue negotiating, adding the expropriation is not meant to “snatch” Cemex assets but rather “is the process by which the state buys something when there was not an agreement.”

Chavez on Thursday said Cemex had been “disrespectful,” accusing the company of polluting, evading taxes and failing to invest in the facilities.

The OPEC nation is facing arbitration suits by Exxon Mobil (XOM.N) and ConocoPhillips (COP.N) for recent state takeovers, though Chavez has struck buyout deals with companies such as AES Corp (AES.N) and Verizon (VZ.N) that analysts called fair. (Reporting by Brian Ellsworth, additional reporting by Gabriela Lopez in Monterrey; Editing by Gary Hill)

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