Venezuela takes over suspended Kimberly-Clark factory

Government seizes plant after Kimberly-Clark halts operations because of the country's worsening economy situation.

    Venezuela takes over suspended Kimberly-Clark factory
    Kimberly-Clark said it acted appropriately in suspending operations [Carlos Jasso/Reuters]

    Venezuela's government says it is taking over and reactivating a factory belonging to the US company Kimberly-Clark, after the consumer products giant announced last week that it was suspending operations because of the country's deteriorating economic situation.

    Speaking on state television on Monday, Venezuelan Labour Minister Oswaldo Vera said President Nicolas Maduro had ordered the seizure of the plant at the request of its 1,200 workers.

    He said the government would supply the raw materials the plant needed to operate.

    Kimberly-Clark, which manufacturers a series of products, including facial tissues, toilet paper and nappies, announced on Saturday that it was halting production in Venezuela's northern Aragua region because of a lack of hard currency and raw materials.

    READ MORE: Thousands of Venezuelans pour into Colombia to buy food

    Bridgestone, General Mills, Procter & Gamble and other multinational corporations have also reduced operations in Venezuela amid a deepening economic crisis.

    Kimberly-Clark said on Monday that it had acted appropriately in suspending operations.

    "If the Venezuelan government takes control of Kimberly-Clark facilities and operations, it will be responsible for the wellbeing of the workers and the physical assets, equipment and machinery in the facilities going forward," the Texas-based company said in a statement.

    Maduro accused Kimberly-Clark of participating in an international plot to damage Venezuela's economy.

    READ MORE: Lootings soar in Venezuela amid food scarcity

    Venezuela has been mired in an economic crisis that has emptied shop shelves and created shortages of food, medicine and household supplies. 

    The recent slump in oil prices devastated the OPEC nation's economic model, leading to growing anger among the roughly 30 million residents.

    The Venezuelan opposition launched its efforts to remove the president, including a bid for a recall referendum, after winning control of the legislature in January.

    But Maduro has challenged his rivals through the Supreme Court, which they accuse him of controlling.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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