AUBURN HILLS, MICHIGAN -- On August 1, 2016, Guardian Industries Corp. and its Spanish subsidiary Guardian Industries Navarra SL ("Guardian") announced that the Venezuelan government had seized control of Guardian de Venezuela SRL ("Guardian Venezuela").
This was the second seizure of a Koch Industries company by Venezuela, which expropriated Koch's fertilizer operation Fertinitro in 2011. Venezuela has also seized the glass plant of Owens Illinois as well.
On August 19, the Venezuelan government published a resolution granting a government-sponsored Special Administrative Board full authority to control and operate Guardian Venezuela, thereby reaffirming the government's expropriation of Guardian Venezuela and its assets.
"These actions by the Venezuelan government have been taken without the consent or involvement of Guardian or any of its affiliates and in violation of applicable investment treaties," the company confirms.
According to Guardian, the Venezuelan government seized control of Guardian Venezuela "when the company attempted to implement an orderly and safe cool-down of its glass melting furnace to protect the safety of its employees and the community in general, while otherwise continuing commercial operations."
Float glass plants operate at extremely high temperatures, continuously, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, throughout their operational life and 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.
"Contrary to what has been asserted by the Venezuelan government, Guardian Venezuela never abandoned or closed its operations," the company says.
Guardian has warned the Venezuelan government of the grave safety risks to plant employees and the community in general should it continue to operate the plant without completing major repairs.
"Guardian and its affiliates cannot be responsible for the safety of employees or any liability or damages resulting from the government's continued operation of the plant," the company warns.
"Should the Venezuelan government produce and sell glass from the plant, Guardian cannot be held responsible for product quality and will consider any use of Guardian's name, Guardian product names, or Guardian trademarks to be unauthorized and a misappropriation," says Guardian.
Guardian Industries Corp., Guardian Industries Navarra SL, Guardian de Venezuela SRL and their affiliates continue to reserve their rights under all applicable laws and treaties.
Koch has not been compensated for the expropriation of there Fertinitro plant expropriated in 2011 yet, though a case is working its way through the World Bank's arbitration panel, the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and a decision in that case, Koch Minerals SÓrl and Koch Nitrogen International SÓrl v. Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (ICSID Case No. ARB/11/19), is expected by the end of the year.
Guardian Industries Corp. is a privately held, diversified, global company headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, United States. Guardian, and its family of companies, employ 17,000 people and operate facilities throughout North America, Europe, South America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, with a vision to create value for customers and society through constant innovation using fewer resources.
Guardian Glass is a leading international manufacturer of float, value-added, and fabricated glass products and solutions for architectural, residential, interior, transportation and technical glass applications.
SRG Global is one of the world's largest manufacturers of advanced, high value coatings on plastics for the automotive, commercial truck and consumer goods industries, providing solutions for greater surface durability, structural integrity, functionality, vehicle efficiency and design flexibility. Guardian Building Products is a leading U.S. based distributor of specialty building products.