Bolivia nationalises Spanish-owned power company

A month after Argentina angered the Spanish government by taking over the Spanish-owned oil company YPF, Bolivian President Evo Morales has nationalised the Spanish-owned electric power company Transportadora de Electricidad (TDE). On this occasion, however, the reaction from Spain has been more muted.

President Morales ordered the military to take over the subsidiary of Spanish power company REE, which owns and runs around three-quarters of Bolivia’s power grid, announcing that he had ordered the move in honour of the Bolivian people fighting to regain control of their natural resources. He said he was expropriating the company because it had failed to invest sufficiently in Bolivia.

Spanish power company REE bought 99.94% of shares in TDE in 2002, with the remaining 0.06% in the hands of the Bolivian employees of TDE.

According to the TDE website it owns and runs 73% of the power lines in Bolivia and provides 85% of Bolivians with electricity.

President Morales did not say how the Spanish company would be compensated, but in his decree he did make it clear that the state would negotiate a payout with REE.

After previous nationalisations in 2010, A senior European Union official stated Bolivia has the right to nationalise companies as long as they are offered ‘fair compensation’.

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