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Larco is a company specialized in the extraction and processing of ferronickel products and is one of the top 5 sellers worldwide (par. 5, letter from the EC to Greece, Brussels 6 March 2013). More than 55 per cent of the shares are owned by the Greek state. Between 2008 and 2012, Greece supported the firm as follows(par. 11 - 16):
The EC argues that "the measures in question have an effect on trade and distort competition" (par. 62). Furthermore the EC identifies potential affected trading partners by arguing that "Larco is active in a sector whose products are traded among Member States and is itself exporting most of its production to other Member States. In addition, there is nickel mining, smelting and refining in 6 Member States apart from Greece, i.e. in Austria, Finland, France (New Caledonia), Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom. As regards the trade of nickel, it is traded in almost all Member States".
Update August 4, 2014: Commission forces Larco to repay state aid
On 27 March 2014, the European Commission decided that the state aid received by Larco was incompatible with EU state aid rules and forced the company to pay back with interest the state-funded means. Further, the EC allowed Larco to sell some of its assets in an ongoing privatisation process.
A state measure in the GTA database is assessed solely in terms of the extent to which its implementation affects the extent of discrimination against foreign commercial interests. On this metric, the state aid proposed here is discriminatory.
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