Statement on starting a formal investigation procedure into Inter IKEA

Today, the Commission has opened a formal investigation into possible State Aid involving Inter IKEA Systems BV.

In order to avoid any misunderstanding: the opening of an investigation is without prejudice to the outcome of the investigation. It does indicate the Commission has concerns. The Netherlands supports the importance of the European Commission's work. It has always been our position that rulings should not lead to a different result than the outcome of an ordinary tax return. They should not lead to selective advantages being granted to individual businesses and to a distortion of the internal market.

The Netherlands will, of course, cooperate with the investigation in order to establish whether it involves State Aid and whether the agreements with Inter IKEA meet the OECD Guidelines.

The European Commission has doubts about specific elements of two rulings with Inter IKEA:

First of all, the European Commission has doubts about the degree of remuneration for activities carried out by Inter IKEA Systems BV in the Netherlands in the period 2006-2011. The European Commission believes that this remuneration in the Netherlands is too low, which causes excessive profits to accrue to foreign group companies.

The second doubt concerns the ruling in which the price paid by IKEA Systems BV for IKEA Proprietary rights is fixed. The Commission shall investigate whether the price paid by Inter IKEA for this reflects economic reality.