Bolivian army seizes Spanish energy company Iberdrola SA units


The Bolivian government seized holdings of Spanish energy giant Iberdrola SA and said they would be nationalized.


Lluis Gene

The Bolivian government seized Saturday holdings by Spanish energy giant Iberdrola SA in the country.

The Bolivian army occupied the offices of the company after President Evo Morales ordered the nationalization of the company's holdings.

Morales said the decision was made in order to make the distribution of electricity more fair.

“We have been forced to make this decision as we want to have egalitarian electricity rates in rural and urban areas,” Morales said Saturday morning, reported Reuters.

"We were forced to take this measure."

Morales has made the nationalization of various industries such as energy, water and telecoms, a priority for his government, elected in 2006.

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Iberdrola was said to be warned ahead of time and an arbiter will decide how much compensation the company will get within 180 days.

The holdings that were occupied include two electricity distributors, an investment firm and a service company all tied to Iberdrola, said BBC.

Earlier this year, the Bolivian government nationalized Transportadora de Electricidad, which was owned by a Spanish company Red Electrica.

The Associated Press reported that in his first year in office, Morales nationalized the oil industry, renegotiating contracts with Repsol, Petrobras, Total, and BG among others.