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Venezuela considers expropriating CANTV, official says

Venezuela considers expropriating CANTV, official says

Venezuela is still working out how it will nationalize the telecommunications company CANTV and could either strike a deal with shareholders or expropriate the company outright, Venezuela's top telecommunications official said Friday.
The state will take over CA Nacional Telefonos de Venezuela either "through acquiring shares or through expropriation," Telecommunications Minister Jesse Chacon told reporters. "We are evaluating both ways."
He added that the government would choose "the one that is less onerous for the state, less onerous for the citizenry, and the simpler way."
If shareholders are willing to sell the company at a reasonable price, "we also are open to that possibility," Chacon said.
New York-based Verizon Communications Inc. holds the largest minority share of CANTV, which was privatized in 1991. Other shares are held by workers and other investors.
"I want to tell CANTV's workers: the only thing that is going to happen is a change of ownership," Chacon said. "You shouldn't worry because Verizon is leaving and the Venezuelan government is coming on. Instead, you should feel satisfied. I prefer to talk with a Venezuelan ... much more than with a gringo."
President Hugo Chavez, who is fiercely critical of the United States, announced the nationalization along with a state takeover of the electrical sector earlier this month.
Chavez has said he wants an immediate state takeover of the telephone company and will not pay shareholders the international market value. He also has said the price for CANTV should take into account debts to workers, pensions and other obligations to the state.
Chacon said the government would like to know Verizon's position. He said there are various ways of measuring value and that considering all of those, "we will make decisions."
Chacon said CANTV's mobile phone division, Movilnet, is an integral part of the company and as such will be taken over as part of the nationalization. Other mobile phone providers in the country have not been affected by the nationalization.


Updated : 2021-05-07 03:09 GMT+08:00