Cemex in negotiations with Venezuela over nationalisation
By Chris Sleight10 January 2011
Cemex says it is in constructive negotiations with the government of Venezuela with a view to reaching an "amicable settlement" following the expropriation of its cement businesses in the country in August 2008. The forced nationalisation also saw plants owned by Holcim and Lafarge being seized.
Cemex had started an arbitration process at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) to get compensation for its assets, however, it says that if current talks are successful, these proceedings will not be necessary. A statement from Cemex said, "Considering the recent progress in negotiations, Cemex considers that an agreement may be finalised in the near term."
At the time of the seizures, Lafarge and Holcim had negotiated compensation with the Venezuelan government. However, Cemex was believed to be holding out for a US$ 1.2 billion package which the government was not prepared to pay. As a result, troops seized the company's cem3ent plants, with a total capacity of 4.6 million tonnes per year, in August 2008.
Despite agreeing compensation, Holcim had to start proceedings ICSID in March 2009, having not received any payments. Compensation of US$ 650 million, payable over four years, was finally agreed in September 2010.