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Venezuela nationalizes steel industry

President Hugo Chavez orders nationalization of the country's leading steel producer.

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CARACAS, Venezuela (CNN) -- President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela signed a decree Wednesday that orders the nationalization of the country's leading steel producer.

Chavez nationalized Sidor, a steel making company, a Venezuelan government official told CNN. The Argentine company Ternium owns the majority of shares in Sidor, according to a report about Chavez's decision in the Venezuelan-based Bolivariana News Agency.

The leftist administration of Chavez has nationalized companies from several industries.

About three weeks ago, government ministers told three foreign-owned cement companies that Venezuela planned to nationalize the cement industry. Those plans affect Cemex (CX), a Mexican firm; Holcim Ltd. of Switzerland and Lafarge, which is based in France. Those companies control 92% of the cement market in Venezuela.

Chavez also has nationalized telephone and power companies.

The decree that Chavez signed Wednesday will create a commission "to take control of the company and make it work in the best interests of the nation, its workers" and the Guyana region of Venezuela, the Bolivariana News Agency reported. To top of page

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