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PR(94)15: Surveillance Authority authorises a venture capital guarantee scheme in support of SMEs in Finland


The EFTA Surveillance Authority today authorised a plan to replace the current '7ourism Impulse Programme" (Tourism Impulse Programme/TIP) of the Land Oberösterreich (Upper Austria) in Austria by a new programme. Having analysed the aid scheme 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 TIP‑scheme is a "top‑up" ‑scheme of the local Government of Ober6sterreich to certain federal aid schemes. Its objective is to improve the quality of supply in the tourism sector. The schemes foresees aid for investment projects for hotels and pensions, restaurants and catering (new establishments or quality improvements of existing facilities), indoor sports and recreation facilities. Supplementary and auxiliary investment like outdoor sports and recreation facilities, lodging for employees, connection to computerised information and reservation systems, waste avoidance and energy saving can also be assisted under the scheme. An investment project may be funded on the basis of the scheme if its eligible costs are between 0.5 and 20 million ATS.

The aid will be awarded in the form of grants or interest subsidies. In all cases exceeding the de minimis threshold of ECU 50.000 per enterprise during a three years period, the maximum gross aid intensities outside assisted areas are 15% for small and 75% for medium‑sized enterprises. For enterprises located in assisted areas as defined by the Authority, aid may be awarded up to the prevailing regional aid ceiling of 15 or 20% net. These intensities must also be observed in cases of cumulation of aid from all other public sources.

Aid awards outside assisted areas are restricted to small and medium‑sized enterprises (SMIEs). Big enterprises located in an assisted area may be eligible for aid if the investment project carried out by them is of supraregional importance.

The subsidies will be funded through the budget of the Land Oberösterreich. The budget foreseen for this purpose is 90 million ATS for the whole duration (1994­1996). Already on 13 October 1994, the EFTA Surveillance Authority authorised a small aid scheme for investment aid to traditional inns in the Land Niederösterreich (Lower Austria) with an annual budget of 3 million ATS.

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

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