GDF Suez loses legal case on 1 bln euros in Belgian nuclear tax

BRUSSELS, April 17 Thu Apr 17, 2014 7:42am EDT

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BRUSSELS, April 17 (Reuters) - French utility GDF Suez's Belgian subsidiary said a Brussels court had ruled in favour of the government in a case over about 1 billion euros ($1.4 billion) in taxes levied on its profits from generating nuclear power.

Belgium imposed a nuclear tax on GDF subsidiary Electrabel that amounted to about 250 million euros a year from 2008 through 2011, the company estimated. The Court of First Instance in Brussels ruled in favour of the government.

"We will analyse what further steps we are taking," a spokeswoman for Electrabel said on Thursday, without giving any more details. She declined to comment on the utility's legal arguments against the tax.

In a similar case in 2010, Belgium's Constitutional Court ruled that the tax on nuclear profits was legal.

In 2012, Belgium increased the tax, which varies according to power output.

Belgium's seven nuclear reactors spread over two plants have a combined capacity of some 6,000 megawatts and are majority-owned by GDF Suez.

French utility EDF's Belgian unit also owns a small stake in Belgium's nuclear reactors, but was not a party in this court case.

EDF has joined Electrabel in a second claim that seeks to overturn the higher nuclear tax from 2012. The dispute is before the Constitutional Court, where a decision is still pending. ($1 = 0.7243 Euros) (Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek and Michel Rose in Paris; editing by Jane Baird)

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