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The EU General Court has dismissed the City of Helsinki’s
and Helsingin Bussiliikenne’s appeals completely in landmark
state aid rulings.
We represent the largest Nordic bus company Nobina in a state
aid matter concerning the loans given by the City of Helsinki to
its fully owned bus company Helsingin Bussiliikenne Oy (HelB). We
have supported Nobina by preparing a complaint to the EU Commission
in 2011, and then assisted Nobina throughout the Commission’s
multi-year investigation which resulted in a 2019 decision that the
state aid is unlawful and must be paid back. The Commission ordered
both HelB and the new company that had purchased HelB’s assets
to pay back the illegal state aid of approximately EUR 54 million
plus interest because the aid had distorted the bus market in the
Helsinki region. After Helsinki and HelB appealed the
Commission’s decision, Dittmar & Indrenius acted for Nobina
in the EU General Court (cases T-597/19 and T-603/19) by supporting
On the 14 September 2022, the EU General Court dismissed
Helsinki’s and HelB’s appeals completely and ordered
Helsinki and HelB to pay the Commission’s and Nobina’s
The consequence of the judgements is that municipalities should
be increasingly aware of the limits to how they can support their
own companies. Also, those who buy a company or its assets should
be aware that they could be jointly and severally liable to pay
back the illegal state aid with the company that received it.
The cases are linked below:
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