Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has ordered the nationalization of his country's cement industry.

Mr. Chavez announced the move during a televised address Thursday. He said the state takeover is needed to ensure businesses produce cement to help build houses in Venezuela, which is facing a housing shortage.

He said cement companies will be compensated for the state takeover.

Three of Venezuela's largest cement companies are foreign-owned. Mexico's Cemex controls almost half the local market.

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