Venezuela began the nationalization of French-Colombian supermarket chain Exito on Tuesday, announced the socialist nation’s Trade Minister Eduardo Saman.
The minister said on television that, following the public takeover, “this will be a socialist company where price speculation and hoarding have no place,” and that the government plans to convert the shops into “socialist mega-stores.”
“The workers will now know how much a refrigerator costs, what profits are and what their salary should be,” Saman declared.
President Hugo Chavez announced the seizure of the chain on Sunday, on the grounds that it had broken the law by raising prices following the devaluation of the country’s bolivarian currency.
The majority stake in Exito is owned by French group Casino, while Medellin-based Almacenes Exito SA own 29%. The company has six hypermarkets and around 32 supermarkets in Venezuela.
In the past Gonzalo Restrepo, Exito’s chief executive, said that Exito had set apart COP45 billion (US$23 million) for its minority stake in the Venezuelan retailer to write off the assets if need be.