Subsidies and 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.
“leading state aid practice with broad-based expertise”
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.
Not only do we negotiate grant applications and awards 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.
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.
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 state 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.
EU foreign Subsidy Control
The EU’s Regulation on foreign subsidies distorting the internal market (FSR) will start to apply in the second half of 2023. It introduces, inter alia, a pre-merger notification requirement for certain M&A transactions and provides the European Commission with far-reaching powers to review other M&A deals on its own initiative.
The new rules will lead to significantly more red tape and must be taken into account from now on when planning M&A deals. Gleiss Lutz with its longstanding and leading state aid and merger control practices is in a unique position to assist clients in preparing for and to guide them through these new and untested proceedings.
Privatisations / Remunicipalisations
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.
Companies in financial difficulties often find themselves confronted with subsidy-related issues. We help them analyse impending risks, such as demands for repayment of subsidies, and advise on how they can be identified and avoided.
We also advise on public funding, including the relevant legal framework as well as the available rescue and restructuring aid. Here, distressed companies benefit from our full service approach: On restructurings our state aid experts work closely with specialists from complementary fields, including our capital markets practice and restructuring group, to provide seamless advice to firms affected.