23 May 2009

Venezuela in bank nationalisation

10:41 am on 23 May 2009

Venezuela has nationalised its third largest lender, Banco de Venezuela, after agreeing to pay $US1.05 billion to Spanish owner Banco Santander.

The move follows months of negotiations between the government and Santander over how much Caracas would pay.

Vice-President Ramon Carrizalez said it would allow the government to assert greater state control over the economy.

The BBC reports Banco de Venezuela is the latest company to be nationalised in Venezuela.

Since 2006, the government of Hugo Chavez has taken large telecommunications, electricity and steel companies, and four major oil projects into state ownership

The government will pay Banco Santander an initial $US630 million, with the balance to be paid in two instalments in October and December.

Banco de Venezuela president Michel Goguikian said the deal was "very satisfactory" for both parties.