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State Aid

ESA opens investigation into Farsund Vekst




ESA will look into whether public funds were used for private gain in the development of two seaside areas in Farsund, Norway.

ESA (EFTA Surveillance Authority) is opening an investigation to find out if illegal state aid was granted to a private company.

The municipality of Farsund entered into a series of complex arrangements, including option agreements, with the private company Glastad Farsund AS. ESA will look into whether municipality-owned shares and property were sold below market price. If that is so, and Glastad Farsund benefitted from an artificially low price, it will have to refund the difference, paying back to the municipality.

ESA's investigation is based on a complaint. In handling complaints like these, ESA works to ensure efficient use of resources, transparency, fair play and the use of public funds for the benefit of citizens.

A brief summary of the arrangements entered into between the municipality and Glastad Farsund can be found below.

  • The municipality of Farsund (FM) and Glastad Farsund (GF) entered into a shareholders' agreement in 2011, establishing Farsund Vekst AS (FV).
  • On the same day FM granted FV option agreements with exclusive rights to develop the two seaside areas.
  • In 2015, FM sold its 50 percent share of FV to GF. The price was set at 21 million NOK, based on FV's total equity capital.
  • Instead of transferring the funds, the parties agreed that the municipality could acquire development rights to the roof top of a shopping centre, a right held by FV, for 23.5 million NOK.

For further information, please contact:

Gunnar Hörður Garðarsson
Communications Officer
mob. +32 490 57 63 38

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