Spain in EU tax grab threat

Spanish companies face a tax bill running into billions after the European
Commission launched an investigation into state-aided foreign takeovers, it has

The regulator has asked Spain for details on tax incentives that could have
allowed Spanish suitors to outbid rivals in takeover battles, according to
reports today.

EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes told the Daily Mail: ‘We
are asking for more information (from the Spanish government) and finding out
whether there has been an infringement. When it is not in line with our rules,
it has to be paid back.’

In recent years UK companies such as O2, BAA, Abbey National and Scottish
Power have all fallen into Spanish hands. A Spanish tax break, which has since
been phased out following a Commission ruling last year, allowed acquisitive
companies in Spain to claim back a significant amount of the goodwill value of
foreign deals.

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