March 29, 2017 / 10:44 AM / 5 months ago

ESA approves Norway's $600 mln state aid to Hurtigruten for 2012-2019

OSLO, March 29 (Reuters) -

** The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has approved the compensation granted by Norway to Hurtigruten for operating a coastal ferry route between Bergen and Kirkenes from 2012 to 2019, ESA said in a statement on Wednesday

** ESA has cleared the NOK 5,120 million ($600.48 million) agreement for the period 2012–2019

** After receiving two complaints, ESA opened a formal investigation of the agreement in December 2015

** Hurtigruten receives the compensation from Norway in order to perform daily sailings throughout the year with calls at 34 ports

** The EEA Agreement permits public service compensation for services of general economic interest not provided by the market – such as the Bergen-Kirkenes coastal route

** After investigating, ESA has not found clear evidence of over-compensation and cross-subsidization

** Norwegian media recently reported that private equity firm TDR Capital plans an initial public offering of Hurtigruten

$1 = 8.5265 Norwegian crowns Reporting by Ole Petter Skonnord, editing by Terje Solsvik

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