The company’s lack of investment in Bolivia was cited as the reason for the presidential move.

Evo Morales signed the decree, ordering the military to take over the power transmission company TDE’s Cochabamba headquarters, which will be now controlled by the government.

Bolivia President Evo Morales was quoted by the BBC as saying the move was ordered in honour of the Bolivian people fighting to regain control of their natural resources.

TDE owns and runs 73% of the power lines covering 1,900km in Bolivia and meets 85% of Bolivian electricity needs and has reported $60.4m in revenue last year, less than 3% of Red Electrica’s sales.

REE acquired 99.94% of shares in TDE in 2002, while the remaining 0.06% was with the Bolivian employees of TDE.

As per the decree, Bolivia would negotiate compensation with REE, though the amount has not been disclosed.

The move comes a month after Argentina took control of Spanish-owned oil company YPF from majority shareholder Repsolin March.