Public Subsidies/State Aid Law

Companies, be they organised under private or public law, receive state aid in all conceivable forms: guarantees, capital grants, reduced interest rates, real estate at a reduced price, tax privileges, etc. If such aid is subsequently withdrawn, this causes enormous problems – such as higher financing costs – for the companies and may even threaten a company’s existence. Working with the public authorities and the benefitting companies, we find a way to ensure that state aid is granted in a manner which allows the beneficiary to keep it. We develop secure funding structures and successfully address any objections raised by competitors and the European Commission. This applies to large infrastructure projects, privatisations, financing transactions, investments and corporate acquisitions up to and including the award of individual contracts. If competitors unlawfully receive state aid, companies can insist on equal conditions of competition being created again. We help such companies obtain the same type of state aid, or to ensure that the state aid that was unlawfully granted to the competitor is withdrawn again.

Guarantees, capital grants, reduced interest rates, real estate at a reduced price, tax privileges: private and public companies receive state aid in many different forms. We determine possible ways to obtain funding for your individual project and help you benefit from state aid in such a manner as to make maximum use of the applicable funding rates.

Where the European Commission needs to be notified of any state aid, we provide assistance with the notification procedure. The presence of our team of experts in Germany and in Brussels ensures the best possible chances of success for our clients: our experts are in constant contact with the European Commission and the national authorities. This enables us to find a way, together with the public authorities and the benefitting companies, to ensure that state aid is granted in a manner which allows the recipient to keep it. This is important because repayments may threaten a company’s existence and violations of state aid law may even cause entire projects to fail, for example, if guarantees given cease to be valid, if sales contracts become null and void, or if invitations to tender need to be repeated.

If competitors unlawfully receive state aid, we insist on your behalf on equal conditions of competition being created again by helping you to either also obtain state aid or to ensure that the state aid that was granted to your competitor is withdrawn again.

Whether you plan to carry out large infrastructure projects, privatisations, financing transactions, investments, corporate acquisitions or to award individual contracts: our in-depth industry knowledge – in particular in the areas of Energy, Health Care & Life Science, Information Tech & Telecoms, Mobility & Logistics, and Real Estate & Infrastructure – as well as our team’s many years of expertise in the area of state aid law and our ability as a full-service law firm to at any time call in colleagues from other practice areas makes us the ideal partner for your project.

Our Range of Advisory Services

Applications for Funding
  • Advising on all aspects of public funding for projects
  • Negotiating with funding institutions
  • Applying to national funding agencies and the EU for funding
  • Drafting grant and syndicate agreements in connection with state aid for research and development
  • Providing assistance when it comes to quickly obtaining rescue or restructuring aid for companies in crisis or in need of reorganisation
Project Structuring and Corporate Transactions
  • Advising on the pitfalls of state aid law prior to corporate transactions and developing legally sound solutions
  • Advising on the state aid aspects of privatisations, investments, PPP projects, and re-municipalisation
  • Carrying out state aid due diligence reviews for corporate acquisitions
  • Identifying hidden state aid in contracts with the public sector and developing alternative structures
Notifications and Assistance with Proceedings
  • Assisting with state aid notifications to the European Commission
  • Defending clients in state aid investigations conducted by the European Commission
State Aid Compliance
  • Developing compliance management systems for the prevention and early identification of risks under state aid law
  • Devising strategies for how to defend against claims for repayment
  • Defending against claims for repayment before national and European authorities and courts
Legal Protection for Competitors
  • Supporting companies that have been placed at a disadvantage and wish to proceed against funding granted to competitors
    • Advising on the available options
    • Filing state aid complaints with national authorities, the European Commission and courts
Services of General Interest
  • Identifying services that are eligible for compensation
  • Determining the scope of possible compensation payments
  • Compiling individual entrustment files that are tailored according to needs
  • Advising on keeping books in compliance with state aid law (separate reporting)
International Subsidies
  • Advising on how to proceed against subsidised imports from non-EU countries and conducting negotiations with the European Commission
  • Advising on how to deal with adverse measures taken by the EU
  • Representing clients before national and European courts

 

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