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State Aid

PR(09)86: Formal investigation of state aid granted to the Norsk film group

2.12.2009

Today, the EFTA Surveillance Authority decided to open the formal investigation procedure with regard to alleged state aid granted to companies previously belonging to the Norsk Film group. The case was brought to the attention of the Authority by a complaint filed by nine Norwegian film companies.

In today's decision, the Authority expresses doubt of the compatibility of the aid with regard to two measures. The first measure concerns the payment of an ad hoc aid of NOK 36 million to Norsk Film AS in 1998 and 1999 for the upgrading of the production facilities named Filmparken. The second measure concerns the application of a preferential tax regime to companies previously belonging to the Norsk Film group over the period 1995-2001. The two measures were not notified to the Authority before the aid was granted and the Authority only became aware of the grants when receiving the complaint.

The Authority recognizes the importance of cinema as a cornerstone of cultural expression and has over the years approved many aid schemes for cinema production and audiovisual works in Norway. The competition and state aid rules do not normally prevent the support of cinema production. However, in the present case, the Authority has doubts with regard to the compatibility of the two measures under investigation.

A decision to open a formal investigation procedure is without prejudice to the final decision to be adopted by the Authority. The opening decision will be published in the EEA Section of the Official Journal of the European Union and the EEA Supplement thereto, inviting interested parties to comment within one month from the date of publication.

The Authority will take its final decision after having reviewed comments from the Norwegian authorities and from any other interested parties. If, in its final decision, the Authority should conclude that the aid was unlawful, recovery of the aid would normally be required.

 

For further information, please contact:

Ms. Marianne Clayton,
Senior Officer
Competition and State Aid Directorate
tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 23

Mr. Bjørnar Alterskjær
Deputy Director
Legal & Executive Affairs
tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 98

 

Brussels, 2 December 2009




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