BRUSSELS, Sept 19 European Union antitrust
regulators on Monday opened a probe into tax deals granted by
Luxembourg to French electric utility company Engie,
which they consider to have given the company an unfair
advantage over others.
The European Commission said it had concerns that the tax
rulings granted by Luxembourg since 2008 appeared to treat the
same financial transaction as both debt and equity, leading to
double non-taxation of companies in the GDF Suez group, as Engie
was formerly known.
"Financial transactions can be taxed differently depending
on the type of transaction, equity or debt - but a single
company cannot have the best of two worlds for one and the same
transaction," Margrethe Vestager, EU Competition Commissioner,
said in a statement.
The financial transactions are loans granted in 2009 and
2011 between four companies in the GDF Suez group that can be
converted into equity and bear zero interest for the lender.
"The final result seems to be that a significant proportion
of the profits recorded by GDF Suez in Luxembourg through the
two arrangements are not taxed at all," the Commission said in a
(Reporting by Julia Fioretti; Editing by Alissa de Carbonnel)