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Venezuela's Chavez Threatens Ternium Sidor Expropriation


Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is threatening to expropriate steelmaker Ternium Sidor, if the company can not reach an agreement with his government by Tuesday over its nationalization.

President Chavez made the announcement during his weekly Sunday broadcast, after Venezuela said it would offer Ternium Sidor about $800 million for a majority stake. The Argentine-controlled company wants four billion dollars for its holdings.

Mr. Chavez said he has asked the country's vice president, Ramon Carrizalez, to meet with company officials to discuss the issue.

Earlier this month, the government said it will take control of Ternium Sidor to protect workers' rights. The vice president said the action was taken after the breakdown of talks between the company and its union workers regarding salaries and benefits.

The Chavez government also has moved to increase state control over other industries. In recent months, it has reasserted national control over Venezuela's oil, electricity and telecommunications industries.

Venezuela is in a dispute with U.S.-based ExxonMobil over the nationalization of an oil project in which the company had a large financial stake.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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