Spain says Venezuela bank nationalisation unjustified

24th March 2009, Comments 0 comments

Arguments to nationalise Banco de Venezuela – Santander's unit in Venezuela – are not justified, says Spanish Economy Minister.

MADRID – Plans by the government of Venezuela to nationalise a unit in the country belonging to Santander, Spain's largest bank, are not justified, Spanish Economy Minister Pedro Solbes said Monday.

"It does not seem that the arguments for the nationalization in Venezuela are justified," he said at a financial conference in Madrid, adding any nationalisation is "worrying".

Moves to nationalise foreign firms will be taken into account when companies consider investing in OPEC-member Venezuela, Solbes added.

In August 2008 Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said his leftist government would nationalise Banco de Venezuela, Santander's unit in the Latin American country, "to put it at the service of Venezuela".

Talks between the Venezuelan government and Santander over the sale of the bank have since stalled as oil prices plummeted in recent months but Chavez, a paratroop soldier, said last week the nationalisation would go ahead.

Under his rule Venezuela, a former Spanish colony, has nationalised its largest telephone, electricity, steel and cement companies and has assumed majority control over four major oil projects.

Santander, Europe's second-biggest bank, bought Banco de Venezuela, the Latin American country's third-largest bank, in 1996.

AFP / Expatica

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