(Adds details, background)
HELSINKI, March 21 Finland's Nokia,
currently embroiled in an Indian Supreme Court tax case, said on
Friday it has received a new 300 million euro ($414 million)
sales tax bill from Tamil Nadu, a claim it considered "absurd".
According to the company, authorities in the southern state
had alleged that handsets from Nokia's Chennai plant were not
exported but instead sold in India. Products exported from India
are exempt from tax.
"Nokia considers the claim to be completely without merit
and counter to domestic tax laws," a company spokesman said.
Nokia said it had filed a writ with the Madras High Court in
Chennai to contest the claim from Tamil Nadu's tax department
and expected a hearing on the case next week.
It also brushed off suggestions the new case would
complicate its 5.4 billion euro deal to sell its phone business
to Microsoft Corp.
Nokia has said it expects to close the Microsoft deal by the
end of this month.
India's Supreme Court, in a broader tax dispute regarding
the Chennai plant, last week ordered the Finnish company to give
a 35 billion Indian rupee ($571 million) guarantee and waive
some of its rights to legal defence before it transfers the
factory to Microsoft.
The company spokesman said Nokia was still considering its
options over the Supreme Court ruling regarding the plant, one
of its biggest handset factories.
Nokia's disputes follow several high-profile tax cases
involving foreign companies in India. Vodafone Group,
IBM and Royal Dutch Shell are among foreign
groups contesting local tax claims.
($1 = 0.7255 Euros)
($1 = 61.2550 Indian Rupees)
(Reporting By Jussi Rosendahl; Editing by Sophie Hares)