The Kellogg Company has ended operations in Venezuela, citing the economic crisis, leading President Nicolas Maduro's government to seize control of its subsidiary in the South American country

Caracas (AFP) - Venezuela’s government seized control Tuesday of the South American country’s Kellogg subsidiary after it halted operations, President Nicolas Maduro announced.

Maduro said the company had been “handed over to the workers” to continue production after the US-based cereals manufacturer said it was ceasing operations.

In a statement, the US multinational cited Venezuela’s crippling economic crisis as the reason it was ending its operations in the country.

“The current economic and social deterioration in the country has now prompted the company to discontinue operations,” Kellogg said.

Dozens of employees milled around the entrance to the factory in the western city of Maracay after turning up to find a notice informing them of the closure.

“What did the revolutionary government do? The labor minister and the economy minister immediately arrived, opened the company and handed it over to the workers, and the company is producing with the industrial working class,” said Maduro, who is seeking a second term in elections Sunday.

The government has previously taken over the plants of other companies who have left the country.

US companies Kimberly-Clark, General Motors and Clorox are among several multinationals to shut down their Venezuela operations in recent years.

Brazil’s Suramericana de Soplados, which supplied fuel tanks to the Ford Motors and Chrysler vehicle assembly plants in Venezuela, also shuttered.

Some, such as Coca-Cola and Colgate, have temporarily suspended or cut back their operations.