Chavez completes steel nationalization

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has signed a decree formalizing the nationalization of Venezuela's largest steel maker. Chavez says his leftist government will transform Sidor into a socialist company by raising salaries and improving benefits for the steel maker's 4,500 employees. The president addressed workers Monday on a visit to a steel plant. He said the government plans to reduce Sidor's exports and increase steel supplies for domestic consumption. Sidor was previously controlled by a Luxembourg-based company called Ternium SA. Chavez ordered the company's nationalization last month, arguing that Ternium was exploiting its workers. Venezuela's government plans to compensate Ternium for the takeover before June 30.