Page last updated at 21:38 GMT, Friday, 1 May 2009 22:38 UK

Bolivia takes over BP subsidiary

Evo Morales (file image)
Evo Morales says he wants to put wealth in the hands of Bolivians

Bolivian President Evo Morales has announced the takeover of a subsidiary of British oil company BP, as part of his nationalisation campaign.

Mr Morales told May Day crowds that he had ordered troops and the state oil company to take over Air BP, which supplies jet fuel across the country.

He has already nationalised oil and gas reserves to redistribute wealth to Bolivia's indigenous majority.

A BP spokesman said the company "had agreed a handover of our operations".

"We were surprised by today's takeover process. But we will continue to support the handover," the spokesman said in London.

Bolivian Energy Minister Oscar Coca said Air BP would be compensated for the nationalisation. A valuation would be carried out within 120 days, he said.

Air BP owns 12 jet fuel stations at airstrips and airports in Bolivia. Its 90 local employees would keep their jobs, the energy minister said.

Since he took office in 2006, Mr Morales has taken control of several foreign-owned energy, mining and telecommunications companies.

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