The periplasmic nitrate reductase (NAP) from Paracoccus pantotrophus is a soluble two-subunit enzyme (NapAB) that binds two c-type haems, a [4Fe–4S] cluster and a bis-molybdopterin guanine dinucleotide cofactor that catalyses the reduction of nitrate to nitrite. In the present work the NapAB complex has been studied by magneto-optical spectroscopy to probe co-ordination of both the NapB haems and the NapA active site Mo. The absorption spectrum of the NapAB complex is dominated by features from the NapB c-type cytochromes. Using a combination of electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy and magnetic circular dichroism it was demonstrated that both haems are low-spin with bis-histidine axial ligation. In addition, a window between 600 and 800 nm was identified in which weak absorption features that may arise from Mo could be detected. The low-temperature MCD spectrum shows oppositely signed bands in this region (peak 648 nm, trough 714 nm) which have been assigned to S-to-Mo(V) charge transfer transitions.