Advertisement for ArianeSpace and their commercial services, circa mid 1980’s.
Yes, you did read that correctly, it says commercial. Arianespace is basically a commercial company, with European space companies being the major shareholders. The Ariane rocket itself is produced under supervision of ESA and CNES by EADS Astrium. The contribution of commercial partners to the development of the Ariane 5 has exceeded the contribution of the national institutes.
Even though the launch company is owned by commercial enterprises, even CEO Jean-Yves Le Gall notes that it, as well as any other launch company in the world is subsidized:
Everywhere in the world, this [launch] industry is subsidized. Even companies who say they are completely private, they receive hidden subsidies. These are the rules of the game, and I think today the commercial guarantors are lucky because they have launch prices which are, in one way or another, subsidized by the government, either in Europe, in the U.S., in Asia, in China, and so on.
-Jean-Yves Le Gall (source)