Elan Says EU Commission Decision Not Endangering its Operations
Slovenian sports equipment producer Elan has said that the demand of the European Commission that it return the EUR 10m in state aid received in 2008 will not imperil its operations.
Elan, whose 2008 capital injection the Commission said on Wednesday was in violation of EU rules, has told the STA that it has not yet received the document, but has already become acquainted with its content.
"We will study it in detail...analyse possible measures and announce further activities by the deadlines set down," the company said.
After a preliminary analysis of its content, Elan feels that the decision is not endangering its operations.
The Commission said this week that the state-provided capital injection put the company in a favourable position compared to the competition on the EU market.
An investigation in the injection, which was launched by the Commission in May 2010, has found that while the state had majority stakes in all Elan's shareholders at the time, a private company operating under market conditions would not have agreed to the 2008 investment.
Since the injection qualified as state aid, according to the Commission, the company was expected to follow the EU guidelines and adopt appropriate measures to reduce the impact on the competitive balance on the EU market, but Elan has failed to do so.
Slovenia, which has so far not dealt with similar cases, has two months to notify the Commission on its planned actions. In such cases funds usually need to be recovered in four months.
Elan can appeal against the decision with the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, the appeal however does not stay its execution.
Still, coming as a relief for the company was the decision of the Commission that a preceding EUR 10m injection from 2007 was in line with regular market practice, since the state-owned stakeholders acted under the same conditions as Elan's sole private stakeholder of the time.
Elan generated EUR 60.7m in revenue last year and recorded a EUR 86,000 profit. The entire group reported EUR 90m in revenue and a loss of EUR 1m.
The PDP asset management company, which is the state owner of Elan, has been looking for a strategic investor that would reduce the state's stake in the company for more than a year. Negotiations have been put on hold pending the Commission's decision, but could resume now.