GM said Thursday that its only factory in Venezuela was confiscated a day earlier, as anti-government protesters clashed with authorities in a country that is roiled by economic troubles. GM said assets such as vehicles were taken from the plant, causing the company irreparable damage.
The seizure is the latest in a long string of government confiscations of factories and other assets that have been a staple of the so-called 21st century socialist revolution in Venezuela started by the late Hugo Chavez two decades ago. Venezuela is currently fighting claims of illegal asset seizures at a World Bank-sponsored arbitration panel from more than 25 companies, making it one of the most-frequently targeted nations in the world.
In March, a World Bank arbitration panel determined that Venezuela did not have to pay $1.4 billion to Exxon Mobil Corp. for confiscating company assets during a wave of nationalizations.
Auto production in Venezuela has nearly ground to a halt amid the country's economic collapse. The cash-strapped government has choked off car companies' access to dollars needed to import parts and repatriate profits. GM's factory in the industrial city of Valencia has not produced a single car since 2015. Nationwide, car makers assembled just 2,849 cars last year, from a peak of 172,218 vehicles in 2007.