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State Aid

State aid: Formal investigation of bus transport services in Oslo closed

19.12.2012

PR(12)84

Today, the EFTA Surveillance Authority closed a formal investigation that was opened on 28 March 2012, into the financing of local scheduled bus transport services in Oslo

In the period from 1994 until 2008, the publicly owned companies AS Oslo Sporveier and AS Sporveisbussene provided bus transport services with tariff limits set by the public authorities under a system of directly awarded concessions. In return, the companies received annual compensation by the public authorities of the costs not covered by ticket revenues.

In a complaint to the Authority, it was alleged that the two companies have benefitted from compensation exceeding the cost of the service. According to the complainant, this has enabled the recipient to cross subsidise other commercial transport services. After assessing the complaint, the Authority closed the case by way of a decision in June 2010. The Authority found that no measures needed to be taken since the aid in question was granted under a system of existing aid predating the EEA Agreement and since the system had been abolished. That decision was later, in August 2011, annulled by the EFTA Court. The Authority has therefore assessed the case anew.

The Authority has now concluded that the compensation did not cover more than the cost of the service, including a reasonable profit for the provider, and that the compensation  has been granted on the basis of a system of existing aid. In addition, the Authority has assessed a tax measure relating to transactions within the Oslo Sporveier Group and a part of a capital injection to cover a historical underfunding of the pensions of the employees working with commercial tour bus activities. Neither of these constitute state aid. The Authority has therefore closed the formal investigation procedure concluding that no further actions from the Authority are necessary.

The complainant has raised additional issues concerning alleged state aid to the same group of companies which are being dealt with in a separate case.

A public version of today's decision will be published on the Authority's website, normally within a month.

 

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




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