UPDATE 1-German state demands 41 mln euros from Nokia
(Adds details, quotes)
FRANKFURT/HELSINKI Feb 6 (Reuters) - The German state of North Rhine-Westphalia told cellphone maker Nokia (NOK1V.HE) on Wednesday to give back subsidies of 41.3 million euros ($60.5 million) used in revamping a plant that it plans to close and the company said it was astonished by the call. Nokia's plans to shut Germany's last mobile telephone factory, in Bochum, and move production to Romania have created a storm of protests. The world's largest handset maker says the plant is not competitive and has to be shut.
The North Rhine-Westphalia Economy Ministry said earlier on Wednesday Nokia had to repay the subsidies used for changing a TV plant into a cellphone factory.
"Nokia is astonished by this. Based on the facts available to the company and Deutsche Bank, its adviser throughout the entire period, both parties strongly feel that such an attempt is without merit," Nokia spokeswoman Arja Suominen said.
She said Nokia exceeded the conditions of the subsidy agreement with the local state by investing more than 350 million euros in the site, and giving work to some 3,200 local people annually on average since 2001. (Reporting by Tarmo Virki; Editing by Paul Bolding)
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