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Chavez warns steel firm

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President Hugo Chavez
President Hugo Chavez

CARACAS: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has threatened to expropriate the country’s largest steel maker Ternium Sidor unless it slashed demands for nationalisation compensation. The government has rejected a request by Sidor’s parent company, Luxembourg-based Ternium SA, for $4 billion in exchange for its 60 per cent stake in the iron and steel company in the Orinoco region, said Mr. Chavez. Vice-President Ramon Carrizales will meet Ternium representatives, he said. The president said the cost of Sidor’s privatisation was only $1.5 billion and much of its equipment has depreciated, adding that Sidor will have to come up with a “serious” proposal. Chavez threatened to sign an expropriation decree if an agreement was not reached by Tuesday. Ternium SA is controlled by Argentine-Italian conglomerate Techint Group. Ternium currently owns 60 percent of Sidor, while the Venezuelan government holds 20 percent. — Xinhua


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