January 10, 2007

Venezuela To Negotiate With Owners -Lawmaker

Filed under: Venezuela — rdrutherford @ 7:05 pm

UPDATE: Venezuela To Negotiate With Owners -Lawmaker
Dow Jones Newswires – January 10, 2007 1:47 PM ET

Related Quotes
Symbol Last Chg
ELDAY Trade 10.523 0.00
VNT Trade 14.70 +2.50
Real time quote.
(Updates with more comments from Sanguino)

CARACAS (Dow Jones)–Venezuela’s drive to nationalize telecommunications and electric-utility companies will include negotiations with company owners, a lawmaker said Wednesday.

“We’re not going to do anything illegal. We will negotiate with the citizens” who own the company stocks, Ricardo Sanguino, head of the congressional finance commission, told reporters about nationalization plans for Nacional Telefonos de Venezuela CA (VNT), CANTV. “We will respect the shareholder rights of all the companies the state moves to nationalize.”

Sanguino told Dow Jones Newswires that Chavez could create a special law to streamline the nationalization process. He didn’t specify what kind of law the president could create.

Government officials and local observers have noted that the government could choose to use expropriation laws to take over companies, but Chavez has so far provided few details on how he will proceed.

On Monday, President Hugo Chavez announced his government will nationalize CANTV, as well as companies in the electricity sector. He also vowed to change the commerce code and strip the central bank of any independence.

Nervous investors in Venezuela and abroad dumped CANTV shares and those of electricity company Electricidad de Caracas CA (ELDAY), another company seen as a possible target for nationalization.

Sanguino declined to give specifics on which companies in the electricity sector could be affected by the nationalization drive.

The latest announcements, Chavez has said, are just the beginning of a series of policies intended to help his government create a homegrown socialism in the Andean country.


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