EU approves €251m aid for privatised Gdansk shipyard

The European Commission has authorised state aid worth €251 million to the Gdansk Shipyard in Poland. Privatised in 2007, the yard recently presented a restructuring plan that will to a large extent be financed from private resources raised by the yard and its owner.

The Commission concluded that the plan would ensure the viability of the yard and that the distortions of competition, caused by years of subsidised operations, would be adequately reduced by production capacity closures.

Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes commented: "This has been one of the longest and most difficult cases I have had to deal with but I am very pleased that we have now found a constructive solution for this exceptional place and the people working there. We have made a tremendous effort to make sure that the yard will be viable for many years to come. Genuine restructuring is the only way to secure stable jobs for the yard's workers."

The European Commission said that since 2002, Gdansk Shipyard had benefitted from various aid measures such as capital injections, guarantees, loans and tax write-offs designed to keep it afloat. Based on the notification of restructuring aid to the yard by Poland in October 2004, the Commission opened a formal investigation in June 2005 to scrutinise in detail the restructuring plan.

In November 2007, the yard was privatised and the new owner first attempted to merge shipyards in Gdansk and Gdynia. A plan for this common project was rejected by the Commission, in the context of its decision on state aid to Gdynia Shipyard of November 2008, mainly because it was not sufficient to ensure a return of the yards to long-term viability.

Subsequently, the owner of Gdansk Shipyard, Ukrainian industrial group (ISD), submitted a stand-alone restructuring plan for this yard.

The Commission said it was satisfied that the plan was in line with the requirements of its Guidelines on rescue and restructuring aid. In particular, the plan proposes a sustainable business strategy based on a diversification of the yard's activities and synergies with other companies in the same group.


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