Sidor starts second share sale to workers

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Venezuelan steelmaker Sidor this week started selling shares under the second phase of the workers participation program, aiming to sell off 10.4% of Sidor to give workers a 20% total stake in the company.

"The workers who haven't acquired their shares yet will have until June 22," Sidor's workers union (Suttis) official Johny Luna told BNamericas.

Venezuela's BANDES bank and state heavy industry holding company CVG are in charge of the sale, which gives workers who did not acquire shares in September 2004 "another chance, as legally it's their right," a Sidor official told BNamericas.

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Sidor workers are analyzing whether to carry out a referendum to determine how to distribute the first dividend payments.

"Now we are negotiating which system would be applied, whether [the dividends] would be distributed per share or in a linear way [equitably]," Luna said.

The union said this first distribution payment should be linear, meaning the payment must equally take into account Sidor's entire workforce - partners, pensioners, retired workers and former workers - so for the first time all would benefit.

But others say the payment should be made according to the number of shares held by each worker.

"Due to this problem we are now submitting a referendum so that finally shareholders will be the ones who decide on the plan," Luna added.

However, news reports say mining and basic industry (Mibam) minister Víctor Álvarez has already signed an agreement assigning payments to shareholders who own shares.

Sidor is 60%-owned by the Amazonia consortium made up of Mexico's Hylsamex, the Techint group, Brazil's Usiminas and Venezuela's Sivensa.

Company plants are in Puerto Ordaz in southeastern Venezuela's Bolívar state.