Venezuela's industries minister fines Masisa for profiteering, claims Placacentro distribution outlet in Caracas increased prices of some items by more than 2,500% and pledges to monitor activities of Macapaima panel plant

LOS ANGELES , January 8, 2014 () – A Venezuelan distribution outlet of the Chilean panel manufacturer Masisa S.A. has been fined following an investigation which led to accusations that the company had increased the prices of some products by more than 2,500%, Wood Based Panels International reported on Jan. 7.

The Placacentro Masisa outlet in the Venezuelan capital Caracas was accused of profiteering following a visit by the country's Industries Minister in December, and was subsequently fined 5,000 tax units.

Masisa is one of several private companies in the hardware, furniture and wood products sectors that have been fined under a government initiative on 'fair prices,' reported WBPI.

Ricardo Menendez, who is known as the People's Minister for Industries, has reportedly pledged that government officials will stay at the Placacentro outlet to help "build a cost structure and define fair prices for the Venezuelan people".

Commenting on the fine against Masisa, Menendez said there was no reason for its outlet's prices to go up eight times in a year. According to Menendez, the Placacentro outlet had blamed the increases on a system error.

Menendez said government officials would also monitor Masisa's panel plant at Macapaima in eastern Venezuela, and check the supply and distribution of construction materials to allied companies, reported WBPI.

The primary source of this article is Wood Based Panels International, London, on Jan. 7, 2014.

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