Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Italy energy firms banned from passing on new tax

ROME, June 25 (Reuters) - The Italian government has banned energy firms from passing on a new tax to their customers, the text of the law showed on Wednesday.

Economy Minister Giulio Tremonti has dubbed his hiking of the main tax on company profits (IRES) to 33 percent from 27.5 percent as a "Robin Hood" tax as the extra revenues will be taken from wealthy companies and spent on the needy.

Energy companies initially protested but have since played down the impact of the tax. Fulvio Conti, chief executive of power utility Enel (ENEI.MI: Quote, Profile, Research) said the tax would be "easily absorbed" by his group.

Media had speculated that the tax on oil, gas and electricity companies, would mean an extra burden to consumers already facing higher costs due to rising oil prices.

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