Court orders coal plant owner to pay P178M in taxes
LINGAYEN, Pangasinan—A local court has ordered the power firm Team Sual Corp. to pay the Pangasinan provincial government P178 million in transfer taxes as the new owner of a coal-fired power plant in Sual town.
Acting Judge Jaime Dojillo Jr., of the Regional Trial Court Branch 37, had dismissed Team Sual’s petition to annul the transfer tax assessment, which the provincial treasurer issued more than five years ago.
Team Sual had gone to court after the provincial treasurer directed it on Nov. 3, 2010, to pay taxes for acquiring equipment and buildings of the Sual power plant when it took over its operations.
Team Sual had said that Team Sual and Mirant Sual, the former owner of the power plant, were “one and the same corporation.”
It said that the sale of US-based Mirant of its shares in Mirant Asia Pacific Limited based in Bermuda to Crimson Power, which is a joint venture of Tokyo Electric Co. (TEC) and Marubeni Corp. (Marubeni), involved shares of stocks and did not affect the firms’ corporate identity.
But provincial treasurer Marilou Utanes informed the court that Team Sual is a new corporation. Utanes said the consortium of TEC and Marubeni “completed the purchase of all the business of Mirant Corp. in the Philippines, including the Sual coal- fired thermal power plant.”
“With all its directors completely changed without any of the original incorporators or directors from the old Pangasinan Electric Corp., Team Sual is no longer the same Mirant Corp. This is bolstered by the fact that even its principal office is in Pasay City, Metro Manila, and not Sual, Pangasinan,” Dojillo said in his decision.
Dojillo also said all assets, including equipment, buildings, improvements and collective possessions of Mirant Sual, were transferred to a new set of owners which is now the Team Sual.
The Sual coal-fired power plant has a generating capacity of 1,218 megawatts (MW). It started providing electricity to the Luzon grid in October 1999 through a 1,000-MW energy conversion agreement with the National Power Corp. under a 25-year build-operate-transfer scheme. Gabriel Cardinoza, Inquirer Northern Luzon
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