Page last updated at 21:05 GMT, Thursday, 1 May 2008 22:05 UK

Bolivia nationalises energy firms

The Bolivian government has continued its nationalisation of key industries by taking controlling stakes in oil, gas and telecoms companies.

It took back control of telephone company Entel from its foreign owners along with a gas and oil exploration firm and an oil pipeline company.

A deal was done with one company, and decrees imposed in other cases.

President Evo Morales wants to increase the revenue his country receives from its industries.

Parts of Bolivia's energy industry was privatised in the 1990s, with foreign companies taking 50% stakes.

In an announcement on the 1 May workers' holiday, President Morales said:

"Basic services - call them energy, water or communications - cannot be in the hands of private business," he said. "They are public services."

Bolivia's state energy company paid $6.3m for a majority stake in Spanish-owned Andina, one of the country's biggest energy companies which exploits oil and gas fields and owns a 50% stake in two giant gas fields.

It has also taken over, by state decree, the control of Chaco from BP and Pan American Energy and the Transredes pipeline company from Ashmore Energy International.

Mr Morales is an ally of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who has also taken back control of a number of industries from foreign control, including oil, electricity and cement.

Venezuela nationalises steel firm
09 Apr 08 |  Business
Chavez calls for steel takeover
01 May 08 |  Business
Country profile: Bolivia
22 Apr 08 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Bolivia
22 Apr 08 |  Country profiles

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