State Aid: No aid involved in sale of land by the municipality of Oppdal
The Authority has today adopted a decision closing the formal investigation into the sale of land by the municipality of Oppdal. The Authority has concluded that the sales price did not contain any state aid elements.
The State Aid Guidelines on state aid elements in sales of land and buildings by public authorities (“the Guidelines”) provide for two situations where the price paid for the property will be held to correspond to market value, thereby excluding the presence of state resources. The two situations are: (a) the sale has taken place through an unconditional bidding process; and (b) the sale has taken place after an independent expert valuation.
In the present case, the municipality relied upon two independent expert valuations. They estimated the value of the property to be between NOK 800 000 – 850 000. However, before the property was sold, the municipality received a conflicting higher offer of NOK 3 100 000 from Oppdal Booking AS (“OB”), a competitor of the intended buyer, Strand Drift Oppdal AS (“SDO”). Nevertheless, the municipality decided to sell the property to SDO for NOK 850 000 without scrutinising the higher bid, and on this basis, the Authority opened a formal investigation into the case.
Having investigated the case, the Authority has come to the conclusion that the sale of land did not constitute state aid within the meaning of Article 61 of the EEA Agreement. The Authority found that OB was a buyer with a special interest in the property. As a consequence of this special interest, OB was willing to pay an excessively high price for the property to prevent SDO from establishing a competing business on the property. Thus, OB's higher bid was not comparable to the bid made by SDO and not could not serve as a sufficient indication that the value of the property, as established by the independent experts, did not reflect the market value. Furthermore, the Authority found no indications that the expert evaluations were not carried out in accordance with the Guidelines. The Authority has therefore concluded that the sale of land was carried out in accordance with the Guidelines, thus no state aid was involved in the transaction.
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:
Mr Trygve Mellvang-Berg
Press & Information Officer
Tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 66
Mob. (+32)(0)492 900 187