EU starts probe into Hungarian state aid for Audi

BUDAPEST, July 9 Wed Jul 9, 2014 9:29am EDT

BUDAPEST, July 9 (Reuters) - The European Commission has started an in-depth probe into state aid granted in Hungary to German carmaker Audi to see whether it met EU rules, the Commission said on Wednesday.

The EU executive said Hungary planned to grant 133.3 million euros ($181.8 million) of state aid to Audi related to a 1.2 billion euro investment project in the town of Gyor, in western Hungary.

The Commission said it had concerns the aid could harm competition.

"Given the size of the project and the market share of the Volkswagen Group - the owner of AUDI - the Commission needs to verify the impact of the project on regional development and whether the aid is necessary to carry out the investment in Gyor," it said in a statement.

In the same statement, the Commission said it had authorised German aid worth 43.67 million euros to Volkswagen/Porsche in Leipzig.

"For BMW, also based in Leipzig, the Commission has found that only part of the planned aid was necessary to carry out the project and has therefore authorised 17 million euros out of the 45 million euros planned by Germany," it added.

($1 = 0.7331 Euros) (Reporting by Krisztina Than; Editing by Mark Potter)

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