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PR(98)19: The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves State aid to an R&D project in the Norwegian shipbuilding industry


The EFTA Surveillance Authority has decided to authorise State aid in support of an R&D project undertaken by the research institute Marintek A/S in co-operation with three Norwegian shipyards, Tangen Verft A/S, Kvina Verft A/S and Hellesøy-Nordfjord A/S.

The main objective of the project is to develop new production methods aimed at reducing production time in hull construction shipyards.  It also includes health and environmental measures intended to improve conditions at work, reduce accidents and employment-related sickness.

The project is organised in two stages.  In the first stage the aim is to map existing and new technology for station-oriented section building in the three shipyards and to evaluate potential improvements in technology and productivity.  The second stage involves testing new methods at the yards, adjusting and further developing them.

In support of the project costs of NOK 5 million in the first stage, the Norwegian Research Council provides a grant of Nok 2,4 million, corresponding to a gross aid intensity of 48%.  Costs in the second stage are estimated at NOK 7 million.  The Industrial and Regional Development Fund (SND) plans to contribute to this stage with a grant of NOK 1,75 million, corresponding to an aid intensity of 25%.

The Authority considered the second stage of the project to constitute precompetitive development, while the first stage was deemed to represent a feasibility study preparatory to the development project proper.

In its assessment the Authority has taken into account that: (i) the project involves co-operation between three shipyards and a research institute; (ii) there will be no intellectual property rights associated with the project, and that its results, although being of particular importance for the three shipyards, will be widely disseminated and published; (iii) the project is partly taking place in an assisted area and one of the shipyards qualifies as a small and medium-sized enterprise.

For further information please contact Mr. Amund Utne on tel. 286.18.50 or Mr. Gudlaugur Stefansson on tel. 286.18.52 (Competition and State Aid Directorate).

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