Brussels, 18 th June 2009
State aid: Commission endorses €51.9 million aid for Ford investment in Almussafes, Spain
The European Commission has authorised, under EC Treaty state aid rules, €51.9 million of aid, which the Spanish authorities intend to grant to Ford España, part of the Ford Motor Company, for a radical transformation of the existing plant on Almussafes, in the Valencia region. The Commission's assessment found the measure to be compatible with the requirements of the regional Aid Guidelines 2007-2013 (see ). In particular, the Commission takes the view that the project, involving eligible investments of some €490 million by Ford, will significantly contribute to the development of the region's economy without unduly distorting competition. T he investment guarantees the continuity of activity at the Almussafes plant and will maintain some 5000 direct jobs at the plant.
Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: “I am pleased to approve aid for this investment project which will contribute to the development of a disadvantaged region of Spain. The Commission is satisfied that Ford's market share and the production capacity created by the project are not excessive and that there will be no disproportionate distortions of competition”.
Ford's investment project is aimed at dismantling existing production lines and installing new machinery and equipment for the manufacture of three new passenger car models. The investment project involves costs eligible for the calculation of the public support of €493.6 million and an aid amount of €51.9 million. Ford is financing the bulk of the project through its own resources.
The project is to be carried out in the region of Valencia which is an assisted area eligible for aid under Article 87(3)(c) of the EC-Treaty for economic development until 31 st December 2010.
The aid would normally be granted under an existing aid scheme covered by the Commission's block exemption regulation for certain regional aid measures (see ). However, due to the high amount of aid involved, the aid to Ford had to be notified to the Commission for individual assessment and clearance.
The Commission’s assessment of regional aid to large investment projects aims to verify whether the market share of the beneficiary and the production capacity created by the investment remain below the thresholds set in the Regional Aid Guidelines (see . When the thresholds are not exceeded, the effect of the aid on competition is deemed to be outweighed by its positive contribution to regional development.
The Commission found that Ford's market share would remain significantly below the 25% threshold in each of the car segments concerned (superminis, small family cars and compact multi-purpose vehicles), both before and after the planned investment. The Commission also verified that the capacity increase generated by the project remains below 5% of the apparent consumption of the product concerned in the European Economic Area (EEA).
The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number N 473/2008 in the on the website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved. New publications of state aid decisions on the internet and in the Official Journal are listed in the .