Workers re-opening Kellogg factory closed by company in crisis-hit Venezuela

Workers re-opening Kellogg factory closed by company in crisis-hit Venezuela

Kellogg's joins multinationals including Tokyo-based Bridgestone Corp., Irving, Texas-based Kimberly-Clark Corp. and Minneapolis-based General Mills Inc. that have closed or reduced operations in Venezuela amid hyperinflation, shortages and a recession deeper than the Great Depression of the 1930s.

US-based cereal maker Kellogg ceased operations in Venezuela on Tuesday, prompting Venezuela's government to seize control of the manufacturing plant.

The Kellogg Company's statement said that the decision was purely economic, attributing it to the "current economic and social deterioration" in the country.

The Kellogg company, which has ties to left-wing activism in the United States, is one of many American multi-nationals to leave Venezuela in recent years amid a worsening economic and humanitarian crisis that has left millions of people in abject poverty and without necessary living resources. The company informed its workers through a surprise communique posted on the entry gate on Tuesday morning.

Maduro, who is seeking re-election for a second term on Sunday, railed against Kellogg at a campaign rally.

"Why are they doing it today?" Mr Maduro blames Venezuela's crisis on an "economic war" that he says is being waged by Washington, greedy businessmen and coup-mongers. "It will continue to operate in the hands of the working class". "It reminds me of the Clorox case".

The company responded to the move with a threat of legal action should their products be sold under their name.

Kellogg's factory in Maracay, with a giant figure of Tony the Tiger lording over the entrance, employs around 550 people and produces 75 percent of the breakfast cereals Venezuelans consume, according to the company's website.

In children's breakfast cereals, it ranked first with a 60% value share, with Kellogg's Zucaritas commanding a 31% value share and Kellogg's Froot Loops and Kellogg's Choco Krispies controlling a combined 30% share. All its contractual obligations have been settled with employees, suppliers and customers, the company said, while the license agreement for the use of its brands and characters in Venezuela has been terminated. You can sign up to receive it directly here.