EU antitrust regulators to probe Peugeot 7 bln state aid

BRUSSELS Thu May 2, 2013 5:45am EDT

BRUSSELS May 2 (Reuters) - European Union antitrust regulators are investigating whether a 7-billion-euro ($9.24 billion) guarantee granted by French authorities to carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen complies with state aid rules and also ensures its long-term viability.

The European Commission said in a statement on Thursday that the opening of the in-depth investigation would allow third parties to comment on the case.

"The Commission intends to verify whether the assumptions underlying the restructuring plan to restore the company's long-term viability without continued state support are sufficiently realistic, in particular given the recent trend on the car market," the EU watchdog said.

France is also providing 85.9 million euros in grants and repayable advances to Peugeot, which has been hit hardest by the difficulties in Europe's auto market. ($1 = 0.7580 euros) (Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Rex Merrifield)

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