The 33% tax on the profits of refineries "is an incorrect proposal from the Commission which has, I dare say, has no moral basis", said the chief executive officer of the Hellenic Petroleum group, Andreas Siamishis, on the sidelines of the event held marking the change of the group's corporate identity and name to HelleniQ Energy.
As Siamishis stated, "there is a problem with consumers paying high prices for electricity and natural gas, but this is not due to oil. Of course, we are a company with good profits this year and possibly next year, and we must also contribute to the relief of the affected households. We cannot help but listen to society. We could, for example, contribute with an amount that will be asked of us in the government's attempt to subsidize part of the price of heating oil."
Siamishis detailed the reasons why he considers the Commission's proposal wrong: "Firstly, it's 33% plus national income tax, so we're talking about over 50% taxation. Secondly, it concerns the published profits, that is, it also counts the accounting profits from the valuation of the stocks. Stocks that the state obliges us to keep. Third, it sets as a basis the average profitability of the period 2019-2021 and if there is an increase of more than 20% in relation to the profits of 2022 the excess amount will be taxed at 33%. But we are talking about Covid years with fuel consumption at its lowest. Also, in the year 2020, due to the negative valuation of the stocks, we made a loss of 580 million euros. Then no one asked us if we have money to buy oil or how we will cover our loans".
The average pre-tax profits of the three years 2019-2021 due to the losses of 2020 is 32 million euros, so the Hellenic Petroleum group with expected pre-tax profits for 2022 close to 2 billion euros has a surplus amount of 1.96 billion which if taxed at 33% yields an astronomical figure close to 650 million euros. Siamishis considers it self-evident that the profits derived from exports - about 60% of the group's revenues - will not be taxed, so the burden will be smaller but still significant. The Commission's proposal for taxation will be put to a vote at the Council of Energy Ministers at the end of the month.
As Siamishis pointed out, "we will fight together with Fuels Europe, the association of European refineries, not to pass this provision which we consider destructive and unfair. If you tax us, you stop the investments and market shares we have gained abroad. Hellenic Petroleum represents 12% of Greek exports".
Siamishis’ statements were preceded by an event to change the company's corporate identity to its new name HelleniQ Energy.
"We wanted to keep Hellenic in the title and with iQ at the end we seek to send the message that our transition into the new era will be done in an intelligent way," he said.