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Venezuela's Chavez orders expropriation of Owens-Illinois unit

CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Monday ordered the expropriation of U.S.-based glass maker Owens-Illinois Inc.'s unit in the South American country.

Mr. Chavez announced plans to expropriate the company in a televised speech, saying it operates in western Trujillo state.

The leftist leader criticized the company's practices in the country, saying it had been “taking away the money of Venezuelans” and exploiting local people. Mr. Chavez did not detail his complaints about the company.

There was no immediate reaction from the company, based in Perrysburg.

Owens-Illinois also has operations throughout Latin America in Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador and the Caribbean, focusing on the manufacture of glass containers.

It was unclear how the government would handle compensation for the company's assets in Venezuela.

Mr. Chavez has nationalized or expropriated a wide range of companies, including cement makers, retail stores and steel mills, while seeking to lead Venezuela toward a socialist system.

He said in his speech that more expropriations are planned.

“There's another list around here,” Mr. Chavez said, but added that he would save additional announcements for later.

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