Bolivian President Evo Morales has nationalised a Spanish-owned electric power company.

The move comes just weeks after Argentina seized control of a Spanish-owned oil company.

Mr Morales ordered the military to take over the subsidiary of Spanish power company Transportadora de Electricidad SA (TDE), which owns and runs around 75% of Bolivia's power grid.

He said he was expropriating the company because it had failed to invest sufficiently in Bolivia during its 16 years of operations.

President Morales said he had issued a decree nationalising TDE, and taking control of 99.94% of the company, which is a subsidiary of the Spanish group Red Electrica Corporacion.

According to the TDE website, it owns and runs almost 75% of the South American nation's electric power lines, and in 2005 its assets amounted to $225m.

Mr Morales, a key member of a group of left-wing South American leaders, ordered the military to "undertake the corresponding takeovers of the facilities and administration of Transportadora de Electricidad," whose headquarters are in Cochabamba, some 400km east of the capital, La Paz.

The company had been privatised in 2007, under the previous liberal government of Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada.

Mr Morales said his decision was based on the company's "weak investment" in the past five years.

Red Electrica said it was "surprised" at the move, adding it hoped to "come to an agreement with the Bolivian government on adequate compensation," according to Spanish media.

The move in Bolivia follows Argentina's decision to nationalise a Spanish-owned oil company, Repsol's YPF unit, which has soured Buenos Aires's relations with Spain and drawn sharp criticism from the European Union.

In Madrid, officials said the government was still gathering information about Bolivia's action, but said it was a different situation from the Argentine expropriation.