European Commission - Press release
State aid: Commission approves regional investment aid for Mondi in Poland and Masdar in Germany
Brussels, 8 May 2012 - The European Commission has authorised under EU state aid rules public support for two regional investment projects, one in Poland in favour of paper companies Mondi Świecie and Mondi Packaging Paper Świecie and one in Germany in favour of the German solar modules producer Masdar. The Commission concluded that the measures comply with the regional aid guidelines (see IP/05/1653 and MEMO/05/491), because the aid intensity, the beneficiaries' market shares and the capacity created by the assisted projects are sufficiently low to ensure that the benefits of the aid for regional development will outweigh any potential distortions of competition brought about by the aid.
The Commission authorised state aid of around €83 million for investments worth around €382 million by Mondi Świecie and Mondi Packaging Paper Świecie for the installation of a new paper machine manufacturing containerboard and a new cardboard box plant in Świecie, in Kujawsko-Pomorskie. The Pomorskie region is an area with high unemployment and a low standard of living, eligible for regional aid according to Article 107(3)(a) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU).
The measure respects the rules for large investment projects: the maximum aid intensity (22.66%) is not exceeded, Mondi's market shares on the relevant paper markets are below 25 % before and after the investment and the capacity created by the new investments does not exceed 5 %.
The Commission authorised €12.9 million state aid for Masdar for an investment worth around €120 million for a second solar modules production line next to Masdar's existing plant in Ichtershausen, Thuringia, an area eligible for regional aid, according to Article 107(3)(a) of the TFEU. In 2008, the Commission already authorised aid to Masdar for its first production line (see IP/08/1944). As the two projects are located in the same area, economically indivisible and undertaken within three years, they constitute a single project for the assessment under EU state aid rules.
The measure meets the criteria for large regional investment projects: the aid intensity (10.2%) is below the maximum, Masdar's market share on the worldwide solar modules market is below 1% before and after the investment, which is far below the Guidelines' threshold of 25%, and the capacity created by the investment does not exceed 5%.
The regional aid guidelines enable Member States to support investment projects in disadvantaged regions with a GDP per capita below the EU average. For aid to investment projects with eligible costs exceeding €50 million, the Commission has to assess the market shares of the beneficiaries and the capacity increase created by the project, because aid for such large investments entails a higher risk of distorting competition (see IP/09/993). In case market shares and capacity increase exceed the thresholds set in the Guidelines, the Commission has to carry out an in-depth assessment
The non-confidential version of the approval Commission decisions will be published in the Official Journal of the EU and made available on DG Competition's State Aid Register website under the number SA.32063 (for Mondi) and SA.33934 (for Masdar). New publications of state aid decisions on the internet and in the Official Journal are also listed in the State Aid Weekly e-News.
Antoine Colombani (+32 2 297 45 13)
Maria Madrid Pina (+32 2 295 45 30)