Government seizes controlling stakes in Lafarge and Holcim and physically takes over Cemex plants

Venezuela’s government has seized control of the country’s cement industry by taking majority stakes in local units of Lafarge SA and Holcim, and by physically taking over control of Cemex’s plants.

Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), Venezuela’s state energy company, said adding control of the three companies would give the government a 98% share of the cement industry.

After failing to reach an agreement with Cemex, energy Minister Rafael Ramirez said at midnight on August 18 the government seized control of plants owned by the Mexican cement company.

‘Unfortunately it has not been possible to obtain a negotiation with the company Cemex, as was done with Holcim and Lafarge, so we will take operational control of its facilities,’ said the Minister.

Ramirez said Cemex had requested $1.3bn in compensation, ‘a figure well above the actual value.’

The two other cement companies, France’s Lafarge and Switzerland’s Holcim agreed to transfer control of their companies. The companies maintained minority stakes.

Venezuela agreed to pay $267m for an 89% stake in Lafarge and $552m for 85% of Holcim.