Bolivia nationalizes Glencore antimony smelter

LA PAZ Sun May 2, 2010 5:47pm BST

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LA PAZ (Reuters) - Bolivia's leftist government said on Sunday it had taken over a small antimony smelter plant owned by a unit of Glencore GLEN.UL, a day after nationalizing four power companies, accusing the giant Swiss commodity trader of under-investing.

"The Vinto-Antimonio plant reverts to state ownership starting now," said Presidency Minister Oscar Coca. "In recent years, there has been a lack of productivity at the plant. It has practically been in the process of being dismantled."

"There has been no investment ..., which jars with the policies of this government," he added.

The Vinto-Antimonio plant belongs to local firm Colquiri, owned by Sinchi Wayra, which is in turn a subsidiary of Glencore.

In 2007, the government nationalized Glencore's Empresa Metalurgica Vinto.

Sunday's privatization is the latest step in President Evo Morales' bid to tighten state control over the economy of the impoverished Andean nation.

Morales on Saturday nationalized four power companies, including a subsidiary of France's GDF Suez (GDFZY.PK) (GSZ.PA) and a unit of Britain 's Rurelec PLC (RUR.L).

A close ally of Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, Morales nationalized Bolivia's natural gas industry soon after taking office in 2006 and the government has since taken control of several utility companies as well as the Andean nation's biggest smelter and top telecommunications firm.

(Reporting by Diego Ore. Editing by Simon Gardner)

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