The Associated Press May 15, 2010, 11:51PM ET

Venezuela's Chavez orders takeover of iron-makers

President Hugo Chavez announced Saturday the expropriation of a group of iron, aluminum and transportation companies in Venezuela's mining region.

Among the expropriated companies is Materiales Siderurgicos, or Matesi, which is the Venezuelan subsidiary of Luxembourg-based steel maker Tenaris SA.

Venezuela's socialist president said in a televised that his government was going to take over Matesi because "we couldn't reach an amicable and reasonable settlement with the owners."

Chavez said production at the company has been paralyzed since midway through last year, when Venezuela's president announced plans to nationalize it.

Chavez said he was also going to expropriate Venezuelan-owned Orinoco Iron and aluminum-maker Norpro de Venezuela C.A., which is an affiliate of the U.S. company Norpro in association with France's Saint Gobain, among other companies.

As well, Venezuela will take over transport companies that ship raw materials in areas southeast of Caracas. He did not name the companies.

Since coming to power more than a decade ago, Chavez has nationalized major companies in the electricity, oil, steel and coffee sectors, as well as other private businesses.


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