Venezuela seizes Kellogg plant after it halts operations

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Venezuelan authorities said they were handing a Kellogg Co plant to workers and reactivating production at the factory on Wednesday, a day after the USA cereal producer pulled out of the crisis-hit country.

"The current economic and social deterioration in the country has prompted the company to discontinue operations". Zeus Exchange, which Druzhkov created alongside a Kremlin-connected industrialist, said in a statement that it has never had any business ties with the Venezuelan government and that Druzhkov resigned after abusing his authority.

Some 300 workers employed at the plant showed up to work to find a notice informing them of the closure.

He is expected to win Sunday's presidential election, described by the opposition as a sham. "Yet, we're here - in less than 24 hours".

It follows similar moves by General Mills, Kimberley-Clark and Havest Natural Resources, among others.

Millions in Venezuela suffer food and medicine shortages amid hyperinflation.

"We've begun judicial proceedings against the business leaders of Kellogg's because their exit is unconstitutional", Mr Maduro told cheering supporters in the central state of Carabobo.

The Socialist president regularly blames the United States, coup-plotters and businesses for conducting "economic war" against the country critics say he has driven into crippling poverty and hunger.

Kellogg warned against the unauthorized production and sale of its products, threatening legal action if necessary.

Kellogg said product distribution in Venezuela has been suspended and the license agreement for the use and commercialization of its brands and characters in Venezuela has been terminated.

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.

The bank's place in the rollout of the petro is further evidence of Russia's role in the creation of a cryptocurrency that much of the digital world has shunned but that Maduro hopes will allow Venezuela to circumvent US financial sanctions imposed past year.