Paper and packaging company Smurfit Kappa says it has lost control of its Venezuelan business after it was seized by the Caracas government last month.

In a statement the Dublin-headquartered firm said it was deconsolidating its Venezuelan operations as it was "no longer able to exercise control" over the business.

Venezuelan officials took temporary control of Smurfit Kappa Carton de Venezuela on 28th August following issuance of an Occupation Order.

Smurfit Kappa says it has now notified the government there that it was fully responsible for the company’s operations and regulatory compliance from that date on.

It said the business represented less than 1% of its total earnings, but the loss of control would result in a €60m write down of net assets.

Smurfit Kappa said that, since it was notified of the takeover, it has been subject to government interference; "including through the arbitrary harassment of its employees by the Directorate General of Military Counterintelligence through unauthorised visits which have the effect of intimidating the Company’s workforce resulting in increasing absenteeism."

It also said that two of its employees had been arbitrarily arrested and it was actively seeking their full release "through all available means".

The firm said it reserved all of its rights in relation to the takeover, including potential arbitration proceedings to seek compensation from the Venezuelan government.