URGENT

Venezuela's Chavez threatens to expropriate steel maker Sidor

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CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) -- President Hugo Chavez is threatening to expropriate Venezuela's largest steel maker because he says shareholders are demanding excessive compensation for the company's nationalization.

Chavez dismissed a request made by Sidor's parent company, Luxembourg-based Ternium SA, for US$4 billion (euro2.6 billion) in exchange for a 60 percent stake in the steel maker.

Chavez ordered Sidor nationalized earlier this month, taking sides with workers who fought for improved salaries and benefits.

His government is still negotiating the price it will pay to shareholders to take over the company. Chavez says he may expropriate the company outright if the two sides fail to reach an agreement.