Salzgitter Loses EU Court Bid to Overturn Illegal-Aid Decision

Salzgitter AG (SZG), Germany’s second- largest steelmaker, lost a European Union court challenge seeking to overturn an EU decision forcing it to repay unlawful German subsidies.

The EU General Court in Luxembourg today rejected Salzgitter’s appeal “in its entirety.”

The aid was part of a tax break for companies near the border with the former East Germany and Czechoslovakia. The EU regulator on June 28, 2000, ordered Salzgitter, based in the same-named German city, to pay back the subsidies, without disclosing the amount.

A 2004 ruling in favor of Salzgitter was overturned on appeal four years later, after the EU’s highest court ordered a re-examination of the case. It said a lower court used the wrong legal test when it decided the European Commission couldn’t order a refund of the aid more than 10 years after it had been granted.

While arguing that no aid was given, Salzgitter said in 2008 that it submitted “a single-digit million-euro amount” to the EU. Salzgitter didn’t immediately respond to a call seeking comment on today’s decision.

ThyssenKrupp AG (TKA) is Germany’s largest steelmaker.

The case is: T‑308/00 RENV, Salzgitter AG v. European Commission.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephanie Bodoni in Brussels via sbodoni@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net

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