"… gets especially strong endorsements for its state aid work."

IFLR 1000, 2013

State Aid

Subsidy and state aid issues are usually quite complex, requiring a high level of expertise and in-depth knowledge from advisors. Gleiss Lutz has a dedicated team of legal specialists to advise on unique state aid-related matters. European, national, state, and local regulations frequently overlap, particularly where major research and development projects as well as investments involving state aid are concerned – an area in which public business, tax, IP and EU law are closely intertwined. As a full-service law firm, Gleiss Lutz has a multidisciplinary team of seasoned experts that covers the full spectrum of subsidies and state aid law – making us a one-stop shop for state aid advice.

Applicants

When applying for state aid, companies must negotiate with national subsidy providers on the various forms of support. Gleiss Lutz provides in-depth advice and assistance on how to maximise state aid, drawing from the various support programmes available to put together a package that makes the most of funding levels and is tailored to clients’ business cases. And not only do we negotiate funding applications, grant awards and grant agreements with national subsidy providers, but we also handle and coordinate the relevant application and approval procedures before the European Commission. In the case of research and development funding, we also assist with the negotiation of consortium agreements (together with our IP experts).

Recovery/Compliance

Where clients face recovery claims we represent them in administrative and court proceedings. As this can be a lengthy process, we try to reach an amicable settlement wherever possible. We can also help develop strategies to secure any state aid granted even before a potential recovery claim is asserted. This often involves establishing an effective compliance management system.

Corporate transactions

We work closely with specialists from our M&A practice to advise on the subsidy aspects of corporate transactions. Where the target company has received state aid, for example, there is a risk that the client may “buy into” state aid-related problems (such as recovery claims or compliance issues regarding state aid conditions). As part of the due diligence process, we check whether there are existing or potential state aid issues and develop solutions to absorb related risks, either in the form of contracts or by negotiating with the funding agencies.
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Competitor complaints

Companies often feel disadvantaged by competitors receiving state subsidies. We advise and represent clients in competitor complaints before national courts and in complaints before national authorities and the European Commission.

Cases before the European Commission

Beneficiaries of aid are being increasingly targeted by the European Commission. We represent clients in proceedings brought by and before the European Commission and the EU courts in Luxembourg.

International anti-subsidy law

The impact of international anti-subsidy law on global business is steadily increasing. We advise and represent clients in proceedings before the European Commission, for example if they have been damaged by subsidised imports from non-EU countries. We also keep them abreast of the latest WTO/GATT developments.

Privatisations/Remunicipalisation

Not only privatisations (PPP) and remunicipalisations, but also other government contracts for supplies or services involve the risk of accusations of concealed, unlawful state aid. Together with our PPP specialists, and drawing on the expertise of our procurement lawyers, we help eliminate any state-aid related risks or exposure.

Distressed companies

Companies in financial difficulties often find themselves confronted with subsidy-related issues. We are able to give them the benefit of our longstanding experience in this field – which includes working on all key cases in the financial crisis. We help them analyse the potential risks of having to repay subsidies and advise them on how these risks can be identified and avoided. We also advise on public funding options, including the relevant legal framework as well as the available rescue and restructuring aid. Distressed companies also benefit from our full-service approach. Our state aid experts work closely with both our capital markets practice and lawyers from our restructuring group to provide seamless advice to firms affected.
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