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PR(05)25: Two new Norwegian seed capital schemes approved by the EFTA Surveillance Authority

15.7.2005

15 July 2005 

The EFTA Surveillance Authority today approved two new Norwegian seed capital schemes, one nationwide and one targeted at specific regional areas.

Based on the approach and the criteria set out in the Authority’s State Aid Guidelines on State Aid and Risk Capital, the Authority has decided not to raise objections to the two notified schemes.

The primary objectives of the nationwide scheme are to increase the supply of seed capital and to increase commercialisation of research-based projects from the universities.

Under the nationwide scheme, the State will finance up to 50% of four funds’ total capital in the form of subordinated loans. NOK 667 million (some EUR 81 million[1]) has been granted for this purpose. Private investors will finance a minimum of 50% of the funds’ total capital. The funds will be 100% owned by the private investors. In addition, the State has granted NOK 167 million (some EUR 20 million), or 25% of the loans, to cover potential losses. The loans will carry an interest of 12 month NIBOR[2] plus 2 percentage points.

The primary objective of the regional scheme is to increase the supply of seed capital and to promote the development of specific regions.

At the outset, the regional scheme will consist of one fund, but three more may be added at a later stage. The State will finance up to 70% of the funds’ total capital in the form of subordinated loans and partly cover administrative costs. NOK 700 million (some EUR 85 million) has been granted for the loans and NOK 50 million (some EUR 6.1 million) for administrative costs. Private investors will finance a minimum of 30% of the funds’ total capital. The funds will be 100% owned by the private investors. In addition, the State has granted NOK 175 million (some EUR 21 million), or 25%, to cover potential losses on the subordinated loans. The loans will carry an interest of 12 month NIBOR plus 0.5 percentage points.

For further information, please contact: Mr Rolf Egil Tønnessen, Deputy Director, Competition and State Aid Directorate, tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 56.

General information about the state aid rules of the EEA Agreement can be found on the Authority’s website.

[1]) NOR/EUR = 8.25
[2]) Norwegian Inter-bank Offered Rate.



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