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State Aid

State aid: Investigation opened on sale of land by the municipality of Oppdal

3.11.2010

PR(10)61
The EFTA Surveillance Authority has today decided to open the formal investigation procedure regarding the sale of a plot of land by the Norwegian municipality of Oppdal to Strand Drift Oppdal AS. This decision follows a preliminary assessment that raises doubts regarding whether or not Strand Drift Oppdal AS received state aid through this transaction.


On 31 July 2008 the municipality of Oppdal sold a plot of land to Strand Drift Oppdal AS for 850 000 NOK. The sales price was in accordance with two recent value assessments, but it was significantly lower than a competing bid of MNOK 3.1 from Oppdal Booking AS, which the municipality had received on 23 July. Oppdal Booking AS has complained about the sale to the Authority.

If municipalities sell land below market value, this may be regarded as state aid. State aid is not compatible with the EEA Agreement, subject to various exceptions.

The Authority has doubts as to whether the sales transaction was carried out according to the market investor principle. In particular, the Authority has doubts regarding whether the procedure with value assessments described in TheState Aid Guidelines on state aid elements in sales of land and buildings by public authorities deal with the situation that a binding offer is received after the receipt of the expert evaluation, but prior to the conclusion of a binding contract.

The Norwegian authorities and third parties will be called on to submit their comments before a final decision is taken.

A non-confidential version of the Decision will be published in the register of state aid decisions on the Authority's website, normally within a month from the date of the Decision.

 

For further information, please contact:

Per Andreas Bjørgan,
Director
Competition and State Aid Directorate
tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 36




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