Bolivia Nationalizes Private Stake in State Cement Company

EFE. September 1, 2010

LA PAZ - Bolivian President Evo Morales announced Wednesday the nationalization of the 33 percent of state-owned cement maker Fancesa that is in private hands.

The decree signed by Morales in the southern city of Sucre, where Fancesa is headquartered, transfers the stake held by private cement company Soboce to the provincial government of Chuquisaca.

The majority owner of Soboce, Bolivia's largest cement maker, is opposition politician and former presidential candidate Samuel Doria Medina, while Mexican-based GCC holds 47 percent.

From its founding in 1959 until the mid-1980s, Fancesa was owned in equal parts by the city of Sucre, San Francisco Xavier University and the Bolivian government's development agency.

The CBF handed its 33 percent stake to the Chuquisaca provincial government, which eventually transferred its interest to Soboce in a transaction that Morales now describes as "illegal."

Labor and grassroots groups have been clamoring for the return of the Fancesa stake to the provincial government, the socialist president said Wednesday.

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