German textile firm Hiltex was today ordered to pay back the EUR5.9m in state aid it received in the 1990s for restructuring.

The European Union Commission ordered the company to return the money with interest to the German government, but as Hiltex has filed for bankruptcy it is not clear how, or even if, the cash will be repaid.

The commission's decision follows a lengthy investigation into grants given to the company between 1990-1999

EU officials said the long-term viability of Hiltex, officially known as Hirschfelder Leinen und Textil Gmbh, could not be achieved and that there were "grounds to believe that the company was kept artificially alive for a number of years".

"Germany must now take all necessary measure to recover from the beneficiary the aid unlawfully made available." the commission said in a statement released on Wednesday.

It added the Hiltex appeared to increase its capacities even though there was already excess production in the market, and that the aid was not limited to the minimum needed for the restructuring of the textiles company.

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