Hugo Chavez is at it again. Last year, it was a group of major oil companies that were pushed aside by his nationalization program for Venezuela. Now, it looks like a trio of big international cement producers will be treated similarly.
On Thursday, Chavez announced that rather than permit a trio of cement producers -- Mexico's Cemex
The affected companies are the world's three largest cement producers. In Venezuela, Cemex operates three plants with a combined capacity of about 4.6 million tons a year. Its Venezuelan operations currently account for just 2% of its worldwide revenues, and its three plants there are part of a 67-plant global total for the company. The combined capacity of all those facilities is about 96.7 million tons annually.
Just about a year ago Chavez similarly expropriated the Orinoco River basin operations of half a dozen major oil companies, including Exxon Mobil
It's too early to know what will happen to the cement plants. During a television address, Chavez claimed that they're polluting excessively. He said, "We are going to prepare a plan to modernize these cement plants."
I'm not inclined to alter my investment stance on Cemex based on Hugo's shenanigans. Cemex remains well positioned to benefit from a recovery in U.S. housing and also to grow nicely on the basis of industrialization and expansion across much of the planet.
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Fool contributor David Lee Smith doesn't own shares in any companies mentioned. He does welcome your questions and comments. Total is an Income Investor selection. The Motley Fool owns shares of Cemex. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy you can jump rope on.