Greek power firms face tax bill from windfall profits on gas price hikes

ATHENS, May 11 (Reuters) - Greek energy firms are facing hefty supplementary tax bills after the country’s energy ministry said on Wednesday its regulator had identified windfall profits of around 590 million euros ($620 million) stemming from soaring energy prices.

European gas prices hit record levels last year and have remained at or near historic highs amid rising concerns over supply disruptions after Russia, Europe’s top supplier, invaded Ukraine.

With Greek households under pressure from soaring inflation, the government tasked the energy regulator with identifying windfall profits based on firms’ gross profit margins stemming from the gas price rises.

The regulator estimated such profits - which the government has said it plans to tax at 90% and use those proceeds to offset consumers’ higher energy bills - at around 590 million euros between October and March.

The final taxable sum will strip out any discounts that Greek suppliers have themselves offered to consumers, the energy ministry said.

Greece, which imported more than 40% of its gas from Russia last year, has spent more than 4 billion euros in subsidising power bills for households, businesses and farmers since last year. It announced an additional support package of 3 billion euros this month. ($1 = 0.9484 euros) (Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Writing by Renee Maltezou; editing by John Stonestreet)