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PR(98)10: EFTA Surveillance Authority approves aid to shipbuilding and tourism in Norway

2.10.2002

The EFTA Surveillance Authority has decided not to raise objections to proposals by the Norwegian authorities to grant regional investment aid in favour of the shipyards Moen Slip A/S and Mjosundet Båt og Hydraulikk A/S.

Moen Slip A/S plans to invest NOK 1,1 million to modernise production methods in the shipyard, particularly as concerns material handling.  The Norwegian authorities plan to provide a grant of NOK 280 thousand under an existing regional aid scheme.  This corresponds to an aid intensity of 25%.

Mjosundet Båt og Hydraulikk A/S  intends to invest NOK 7,4 million in facilities for the production of hydraulic equipment for boats.  The purpose is to strengthen the hydraulic machinery production in the company.  The Norwegian authorities plan to provide a grant of NOK 1,1 million and a risk loan of NOK 2,6 million under existing regional aid schemes.  The Authority estimates the combined aid element of these two measures to correspond to 20,4% of the eligible investment costs.

Both companies are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), located in the so-called Target zone B of the areas qualifying for regional aid in Norway, where the relevant regional aid ceiling is 25% plus a supplement of 5% for SMEs.  The aid levels in both cases are within the relevant maximum ceilings.

The Authority also examined the aid under the specific EEA rules on aid to shipbuilding.  It found inter alia that the investments concerned are linked to restructuring plans which can improve efficiency and enhance the future viability of the two yards, without involving any increase in their shipbuilding capacity.

EFTA Surveillance Authority decided also to approve a proposal on aid to develop and promote tourism activities in North Norway. The proposal concerned an individual grant of NOK 1,9 million from Finnmark County Industry Fund to support a promotion programme of NOK 7,7 million administered by "Top of Europe Norway AS", a small company established to promote and co-ordinate tourism activities in North Norway.

The objective of the programme is to increase the focus on North Norway as a travel destination and to develop certain tourism concepts with novel features, i.e. activities related to game fishing and winter tourism. North Norway which covers the counties of Finnmark, Troms and Nordland, is eligible for regional investment aid.

The Authority took account of the contribution tourism can make to regional development and that the aid intensity of 25% is within acceptable limits.

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




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