The European Commission said today it had opened separate in-depth investigations into tax rulings granted by Belgium to 39 multinational companies to determine whether these amounted to illegal state aid. 

The Commission, which oversees competition policy in the European Union, ordered Belgian in 2016 to recover some €700m from the companies.

But that decision was struck down by an EU court in February. 

The court found that the Commission had wrongly considered the Belgian "excess profit" tax exemptions constituted a scheme.

This prompted the Commission to relaunch its proceedings, but it treated the rulings for each company separately. 

The companies include brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev and subsidiaries of BASF, BP, British American Tobacco, Henkel Bridgestone and Atlas Copco.