European Commission (EC) concluded (20-Nov-2012) the sale of LOT Services, LOT Catering and LOT Airport Maintenance Services, subsidiaries of LOT Polish Airlines, was "carried out on market terms and did therefore not involve state aid in the meaning of EU rules". The EC noted LOT has been under restructuring since 2009 and is "trying to improve its financial situation by selling subsidiaries and focusing on its main business activity – the transport of passengers and cargo". The EC's investigation related to the sale of LOT Services – which provides ground handling services – LOT Catering and LOT Aircraft Maintenance Services. These companies were acquired by state-owned entities. No open and transparent tender was organised. The Commission therefore had to make sure that these sales did not contain hidden subsidies in favour of LOT. The Commission has examined the conditions of the transactions, in particular the purchase price as well as the pre-transaction valuations of the companies concerned. On this basis, the Commission concluded the sales were carried out under terms that a private player operating under market conditions would have accepted (the market economy investor principle – MEIP). The sales therefore did not involve any state aid. [more - original PR]
European Commission finds sale of LOT Polish Airlines’ subsidiaries did not involve state aid
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He added that, while the European aviation market is more fragmented than the American market, taking the level of consolidation that exists in the US and applying it to Europe is "not necessarily something we would advocate for...there's too little competition in the American market in our view".
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