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PR(07)48: EFTA Surveillance Authority authorizes investment support in favour of Celsa Ameringstål for the reduction of mercury emissions

28.11.2007

The EFTA Surveillance Authority (the Authority) decided today not to raise objections against the investment support notified to it by the Norwegian authorities in favour of Celsa Ameringsstål (Celsa) in Mo i Rana, Northern Norway.

Celsa, a metal producer, intends to invest in a new cleaning technology for mercury recovery which should reduce Celsa’s mercury emissions by 98% compared to its current emissions. The Norwegian authorities will support 35% of the investment costs, after production benefits resulting from the application of the new technology have been deducted.

The support from the State budget constitutes state aid within the meaning of Article 61(1) of the EEA Agreement, but is compatible with the Authority’s State Aid Guidelines on Aid for Environmental Protection. The Guidelines foresee that support for environmental protection investments in the absence of any harmonized Community standard can be granted up to 30% of investment costs. A top up of 5 percentage points can be added to this support, if the company is located in a region which qualifies for regional aid. As Celsa is located in such a region, the Authority allows an investment support of 35%. The support will however only be granted to the company, once it has paid back paid state aid which it has unlawfully received (aid in the form of a previous exemption from tax on electricity and aid received from the Norwegian Energy Fund, Decisions Nos 148/04/COL – Environmental taxes and 125/06/COL Norwegian Energy Fund).

 

For further information, please contact:

Mr. Amund Utne,
Director, Competition and State Aid Directorate,
Tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 50

 Ms.Annette Kliemann,
Deputy Director, Competition and State Aid Directorate,
Tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 80.

28 November 2007




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