EC extends investigation into ABX subsidies
The European Commission said Tuesday it has decided to extend the formal investigation procedure into ABX Logistics, a state-controlled Belgian logistics service provider, to include the new financing which the Belgian railway company SNCB (Soci't' Nationale des Chemins de fer Belges), its parent, is planning for its subsidiary.
The original investigation procedure into ABX Logistics was initiated in July 2003, but additional finance for about 170 million euros ($219 million) would be provided by the SNCB to ABX Logistics under the latest plan.
“Additional information submitted by the Belgian authorities at the beginning of 2005 has prompted the commission to extend the original investigation procedure to include the proposed new measures,” the EC said. The commission will not rule on whether the amounts under investigation constitute state aid and whether this aid is compatible with the competition rules until it delivers its final decision.
The Belgian authorities further said they had started the process of an employee buyout of ABX’s domestic road-based parcel delivery services in France and that SNCB would be selling off the remainder of the ABX group.
The EC has asked the Belgian authorities to provide proof that, in both instances, the acquisition price is a market price and that no state aid is involved.