Atomic Firm Faces Tax Claim

Rosenergoatom, the state company that manages the country's 10 nuclear power stations, received a back tax claim of 1.7 billion rubles ($73 million), a company spokesman confirmed on Tuesday.

"The Federal Tax Service issued claims on Feb. 22 concerning the company's activity in 2004 and 2005," Rosenergoatom spokesman Ashot Nasibov said by telephone.

The tax service says Rosenergoatom failed to include more than 4.7 billion rubles in revenue from electricity sales on the federal wholesale electricity market, understating its profit tax by 1.13 billion rubles, Kommersant said Tuesday.

"The problem appeared because of price imbalances caused by the difference in tariffs set by the Federal Tax Service for electricity consumers and sellers," Nasibov said. Rosenergoatom appealed the decision in a Moscow court earlier this month. "We haven't got any answer yet," Nasibov said.

Analysts say new regulations have eliminated the danger posed by such tariff imbalances. "The Rosenergoatom tax claim is a vestige of the preliberalization era," Deutsche Bank utilities analyst Dmitry Bulgakov said. "All of the generating companies had been facing the problem until September 2006, when the practice of the take-and-pay contracts was established."

The new regulations established a direct link between the producer and the consumer, which helped balance the tariff system and simplify taxation.