EU approves French state aid to petchem research institute IFP

29 June 2011 22:14  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--The European Commission has concluded that France’s unlimited state guarantee to petroleum and petrochemicals research group lnstitut Francais du Petrole Energies Nouvelles (IFP) is compatible with EU law, the Commission said on Wednesday.

The IFP is a public body with an "etablissement public a caractere industriel et commercial", or EPIC, status under French law.

As such, the state guarantee does not distort competition in the EU as long as the IFP's economic activities are conducted solely on an ancillary basis and are connected with its main activity, which is public research, the Commission said.

After carefully examining the effects of the guarantee on the IFP, the Commission said the IFP “derives only limited financial benefits from the guarantee in terms of carrying on its economic activities".

“We have everything to gain from public bodies making their technology, research infrastructure and researchers' know-how available to European industry,” said EU competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia.

In 2005, the Commission began an investigation that focused on the IFP’s relationship with its commercial subsidiary, Axens.

Axens was set up in 2001 to market the IFP’s research findings in refining and petrochemicals.

By: Stefan Baumgarten
+1 713 525 2653

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