EU Probes Planned EUR 7.7 Million German State Funding For DHL

The European Commission Wednesday opened an investigation into a German government plan to give express company DHL Worldwide Express Inc. EUR7.7 million to support worker training.

The commission is worried DHL would train its workers without government help, making the state grant an unnecessary and potentially illegal subsidy. Under European Union rules subsidies are allowed if they support job creation and aren’t giving companies an unfair advantage over their competitors.

DHL, a unit of Deutsche Post AG (DPW.XE), is building a new parcel delivery and airfreight center in Leipzig-Halle, Germany. The site will have around 1,500 employees.

DHL plans to train about 480 of these workers as freight handlers, security guards and mechanics. The German government funds would account for 60 pct of the training scheme’s costs.

“I have concerns that DHL would have carried out this training project in any event, and therefore does not need the aid,” the commission’s top antitrust official Neelie Kroes said in a statement.

DHL’s competitors and other interest groups have been invited to weigh in on the planned subsidies. The commission said its investigation doesn’t prejudge whether the funds will be allowed.

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