EnBW has paid $1.1 bln in nuclear tax so far - CFO in paper

FRANKFURT Wed May 21, 2014 3:50am EDT

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FRANKFURT May 21 (Reuters) - German utility EnBW has paid 790 million euros ($1.1 billion) in nuclear tax and so would be in line for a hefty rebate if a local court ruled the levy unlawful, its finance chief said in a newspaper interview.

"So far, we have paid 790 million euros. Until 2016, three-digit million euro amounts have to be paid annually," Thomas Kusterer told Germany business daily Boersen-Zeitung.

"A refund would boost our liquidity and our financial position. But we have to wait for the court decisions."

The levy, due to expire in 2016, requires firms to pay 145 euros per gramme of nuclear fuel each time they exchange a fuel rod, usually about twice a year.

The case is prominent because of the size of the charges, which were introduced to boost state coffers.

A Hamburg court made a preliminary decision in April, forcing the government to refund Germany's two biggest utilities, E.ON and RWE, about 2.2 billion euros in tax payments.

Whether or not EnBW can expect to be refunded depends on a ruling by the local court in Freiburg.

A final ruling on whether the tax is unlawful is expected to come from either the European Court of Justice or Germany's Federal Constitutional Court. Kusterer said earlier this month he expects a final ruling at the end of next year.

While the final verdict is outstanding, Germany's utilities still need to make provisions for the tax.

Kusterer also said EnBW was under no pressure to sell its stakes in MVV Energie (22.48 percent) and Austria's EVN (32.5 percent).

($1 = 0.7302 Euros) (Reporting by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Mark Potter)

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