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Aalborg Havn A/S did not violate the competition act in the sale of Østre Havn

25. november 2009

On November 25th the Danish Competition Council (DCC) has decided on a case regarding the sale of a property called Østre Havn placed in the city of Aalborg. The DCC found that the publicly owned Aalborg Havn A/S did not violate the Danish competition acts rules concerning state aid by selling Østre Havn to a price of 42,8 million DKK.

The case originates from a complaint from a member of the Danish parliament, Per Clausen. Per Clausen argued that the property was sold to a price lower than the marked price. If the property was sold to a price lower than the market price, the sale could constitute a violation of the Danish rules regarding state aid since Aalborg Havn A/S was almost fully owned by the city of Aalborg.

The Danish Competition Authorities obtained an evaluation of Østre Havn carried out by an independent asset valuer. The valuer found that Østre Havn was worth 71,7 million DKK at the time of the sale. However, the valuer also found that the estimated market price was within a price range of 35-50 pct. and that a purchase price of app. 40-100 million DKK for that reason was to be regarded as the market price at the time of the sale.

The valuer found that it was not possible to reduce the extraordinarily wide price margin. This was due to unusually large uncertainties and exceptional circumstances related to the sale of Østre Havn.

The DCC found on the basis of the valuer’s findings that it could not be refused that Østre Havn was sold at the market price. Therefore, Aalborg Havn A/S did not violate the Danish competition acts rules concerning state aid.