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PR(94)31: Prolongation and modification of the aid scheme under the Business Structure Improvement Act in Austria authorised

18.10.2002

The EFTA Surveillance Authority today authorised the prolongation and modification of the Aid Scheme under the Business Structure Improvement Act (Richtlinien fir die Gewährung von Förderungen nach dem Gewerbestruktur­verbesserungsgesetz 1969 vom ... 1994) and the principles of the new agreements between the Federal State and Austrian Under for regional top‑ups to be awarded under the scheme. Having analysed the guidelines on the basis of Article 61 of the EEA Agreement, the Authority has decided not to raise objections to the aid measures in question. The new guidelines shall apply from 1 January 1995 until the end of 1996.

The aid scheme under the Business Structure Improvement Act foresees investment aid for small and medium‑sized enterprises (SMEs) regardless of their location and business sector. The aid will be given in the form of a grant of up to 2% p.a. for investments of up to 5 million ATS. The grant can be paid over a period of several years provided that the maximum aid intensity of 5.8% gross is not exceeded.

“TOP investment” as defined in the scheme might be aided up to 3% p.a., leading to a maximum aid intensity of 8.8% gross. However, aid to medium‑sized enterprises may not exceed a maximum intensity of 7.5% gross. For certain investment projects the aided investment may go up to 10 million ATS. In cases of cumulation with aid from other sources, the combined maximum aid intensity would not exceed 15% gross for small enterprises and 7.5% gross for medium‑sized enterprises located outside assisted areas or the prevailing authorised maximum aid intensity for assisted areas.

The regional component consists of a top‑up possibility in the form of additional grants of up to 1.5% p.a. which would have to be financed by the Austrian Lander participating in the scheme. The regional component refers explicitly to the map of assisted areas as authorised by the Authority in May 1994.

The aid will be granted by the State through State resources. The Authority states that the budgetary appropriations for 1994 (i.e. 470 million ATS on the federal and 54 million ATS on the Länder level) may not be exceeded in 1995 or in 1996 by more than 20%. The estimated number of recipients of investment aid under the scheme is 2.000 to 2.500 enterprises per year for the basic aid from the Federal State and 800 to 900 enterprises per year for the regional component co‑financed by the Federal State and the Länder.

For further information please contact Wolfgang Mederer (State Aid and Monopolies Directorate) on tel. 22 66 852.




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