The Guardian Industries glass factory in Venezuela, which was seized by the country’s socialist government in July 2016, will now be operated by Venvidrio, a state-run company that was created from the takeover of US-based Owens-Illinois.
Last week, Venezuela’s Labor Ministry gave Venvidrio the responsibility for restarting operations at the plant in Monagas state, according to reports in Venezuela’s media. Previously, President Nicolas Maduro’s regime had turned the plant over to the firm’s workers, who were to operate it under government supervision for one year.
According to the report, Venvidrio will “refloat” Guardian’s operations. It’s unclear if it will carry out repairs to the plant’s glass furnace that the former owner says are needed.
Guardian Industries said in a statement issued in September 2016 that Venezuela had used a routine maintenance shutdown of the plant’s float glass furnace as a pretext to seize it. (Venezuela claims the company “abandoned” the factory as part of a U.S.-led “economic war” against the country.) Guardian also said it warned the government that it could be creating a dangerous situation at the facility for employees and the community if it continued making glass there without completing the maintenance work.
“Float glass plants operate at extremely high temperatures, continuously, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, throughout their operational life,” Guardian said in its statement. “All float glass plants must be temporarily shut down at the end of their operational life in order to undergo major repairs requiring specialized and technical expertise.”