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Brussels, 20 June 2001

The Commission authorises the extension of the A43 motorway concession granted to Société Française du Tunnel Routier de Fréjus (SFTRF)

The European Commission has decided to authorise the reform of the arrangements for operating the A43 motorway concession granted to SFTRF as part of the review of the French motorway system which began last year. This authorisation entails extending the concession until 2050 in return for removing the commitment on the part of the State to take over SFTRF's liabilities. Extending the concession should enable SFTRF to achieve financial viability. This decision follows on from the Commission's decision last October concerning six other semi-public motorway concession companies (SEMCAs) and will make it possible to ensure equal treatment for all the parties concerned when future concessions are granted, in the context of the ongoing reform process in France.

The Commission examined France's request from from the point of view of its compatibility with the rules of the Treaty concerning State aid.

The method used for this examination, in particular to determine the extension of the concession requested, is the same as for the other SEMCAs which were the subject of the Commission's Decision of 4 October 2000 (see IP/00/1114), consisting of putting a value on the removal of the State's guarantee concerning the company's liabilities and converting that monetary value into years of extension of the duration of the concessions. Following its examination, the Commission takes the view that a 32-year extension of the concession in question is appropriate. It has included a margin of three years to take into account possible operating contingencies.

Consequently, the Commission has decided not to raise objections to the measure in question which it considers to be compatible with the Treaty.

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