March 19, 2019 / 10:08 PM / 6 months ago

Venezuela opposition names board to state chemical company

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela’s opposition-controlled National Assembly named an ad-hoc board of directors to state chemical company Pequiven on Tuesday, a move aimed at allowing opposition leader Juan Guaido to gain control of the country’s assets abroad.

That allowed Guaido’s allies to name a board of directors to Monomeros, a Colombian chemical company owned by Pequiven. The move resembled Guaido’s naming of an ad-hoc board for state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela last month, allowing him to name new directors to U.S. refiner Citgo, a PDVSA subsidiary and Venezuela’s most important overseas asset.

Guaido, the head of the assembly, invoked the constitution to assume an interim presidency in January, arguing that President Nicolas Maduro’s May 2018 re-election was illegitimate. He has been recognised as Venezuela’s rightful leader by most Western countries, including the United States and Colombia.

Maduro, a socialist who argues that he is the victim of an attempted U.S.-led coup, remains in control of state functions and retains the support of the military top brass.

In approving the new board, the National Assembly said in a resolution that it was aiming to “protect the patrimony of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela,” accusing Maduro’s government of “compromising our companies abroad.”

Venezuela’s Information Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Pequiven, a unit of PDVSA, gained a majority stake in Monomeros in 2006 when it purchased a 47 percent share in the company for $53.7 million.

Reporting by Luc Cohen, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien

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