22 February 2016 – Expansión
The second attempt is underway to auction off the Ciudad de la Luz cinematographic studios in Alicante, which are owned by the Generalitat Valenciana. The sale is being forced by Brussels, which has ruled that the €265 million invested by the Valencian Administration represented unlawful State aid.
The new round of auctioning will take place after just one offer was received during the first round and that was disqualified for failing to comply with the conditions.
The new documents value the complex in Alicante at €94.4 million, but financial bids may be submitted with a maximum discount of up to 50%. In order words, the minimum bid that can be made for the entire Ciudad de la Luz complex stands at €47.2 million.
Brussels has finally approved the new documents prepared by the Valencian Government after months of negotiations, but it has imposed several conditions on the sale. Thus, the European Commission states that the complex may be sold in its entirety or on a piecemeal basis, in six lots, contrary to the aspirations of the Generalitat, which has also failed to defend the use of the studios for cinematographic purposes. The documents state that the studios may be sold for use by any type of industry and to the highest bidder.
Nevertheless, the Consell has succeeded in ensuring that the starting figure for the bidding is much higher than the previous one, given that the last auction, which was suspended in August last year, allowed offers to be made for as little as €20 million. Moreover, the potential purchasers must submit a business plan, which may or may not be linked to the film industry. Also, the proposed activity must not generate noise or environmental damage, and the site may not be used for speculative purposes. The Administration has excluded three buildings from sale: the training centre, the offices and the catering facilities.
Brussels will decide
Investors now have a period of two months, ending on 18 April, to submit their proposals. At that point, the purchase offers will be assessed and the winner will be chosen, so that the deal can be closed in June. Brussels reserves the right to have the last word and will have to approve any deal.
The current CEO of the public company Ciudad de la Luz, Miguel Mazón, said yesterday that the Government had contributed around €500 million in public money to the complex and its activity since Eduardo Zaplana introduced the flagship project in the year 2000.
Original story: Expansión (by Mª. J. Cruz)
Translation: Carmel Drake