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Bolivia Plans to Retake Control of Telecom, Electricity, Rail Companies


Bolivia's government says it plans to retake majority control of several companies that were semi-privatized in the 1990s.

Bolivian officials say the takeover targets include telecommunications firms, electricity companies and rail operators.

The companies were partially privatized by previous Bolivian governments, which sold 50-stakes to foreign investors. Most of the remaining 50 percent stakes were entrusted to pension funds for Bolivians.

Bolivia's government now wants to take over the 48 to 49 percent stakes in each company currently held by the pension funds. The government would then buy shares from other investors to reach the 51 percent stake needed for ownership.

The plan to restore state control would mean buying out the shares of foreign companies from the United States, Italy and Chile. It is unclear when the plan will be implemented or how much it will cost.

Bolivia nationalized its energy industry last month, saying the move was necessary to cut poverty and boost economic growth.

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