State aid: Commission approves €30 billion French subordinated loan scheme to support companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak

coronavirus 2020__

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


The European Commission has approved a €30 billion French subordinated loan scheme to support companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework.

Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “The €30 billion French subordinated loan scheme will enable France to further support companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme aims at supporting access to funding for enterprises of all sizes to sustain their economic activities. The measure will be open to companies active in all sectors, with the exception of those active in the financial one. We continue to work in close cooperation with Member States to find workable solutions to mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak, in line with EU rules.”

The French support measure

France notified to the Commission under the Temporary Framework a subordinated loan scheme to support companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak.The total amount of subordinated loans with favourable interest rates that can be granted under the scheme is €30 billion. The measure aims at supporting access to funding for enterprises of all sizes to sustain their economic activities. The measure will be open to companies active in all sectors, with the exception of those active in the financial sector.

The scheme will be managed by the central government, by territorial administrations and by other granting authorities. The subsidised subordinated loans will be granted directly by the granting authorities.

The Commission found that the French measure is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, (i) for large enterprises, the subordinated loans will not exceed two thirds of the wage bill or 8.4% of the annual turnover in 2019, while for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) they will not exceed either the wage bill or 12.5% of the turnover in 2019; (ii) the pricing of the subordinated loans is higher than for ordinary subsidised loans to reflect their riskier nature, as foreseen in the Temporary Framework. As the maximum duration of the subordinated loans is of 7 years (higher than the 6 years normally foreseen within the Temporary Framework), the increase in the credit margin due to subordination is topped-up with another increase to compensate the longer duration.

The Commissiontherefore concluded that the measure is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a Member State, in line with Article 107(3)(b) TFEU and the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework.

On this basis, the Commission approved the measures under EU State aid rules.

Background

The Commission has adopted a Temporary Framework to enable Member States to use the full flexibility foreseen under State aid rules to support the economy in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The Temporary Framework, as amended on 3 April, 8 May and 29 June 2020, provides for the following types of aid, which can be granted by Member States:

(i) Direct grants, equity injections, selective tax advantages and advance payments of up to €100,000 to a company active in the primary agricultural sector, €120,000 to a company active in the fishery and aquaculture sector and €800,000 to a company active in all other sectors to address its urgent liquidity needs. Member States can also give, up to the nominal value of €800,000 per company zero-interest loans or guarantees on loans covering 100% of the risk, except in the primary agriculture sector and in the fishery and aquaculture sector, where the limits of €100,000 and €120,000 per company respectively, apply.

(ii) State guarantees for loans taken by companies to ensure banks keep providing loans to the customers who need them. These state guarantees can cover up to 90% of risk on loans to help businesses cover immediate working capital and investment needs.

(iii) Subsidised public loans to companies (senior and subordinated debt) with favourable interest rates to companies. These loans can help businesses cover immediate working capital and investment needs.

(iv) Safeguards for banks that channel State aid to the real economy that such aid is considered as direct aid to the banks’ customers, not to the banks themselves, and gives guidance on how to ensure minimal distortion of competition between banks.

(v) Public short-term export credit insurance for all countries, without the need for the Member State in question to demonstrate that the respective country is temporarily “non-marketable”.

(vi)  Support for coronavirus related research and development (R&D) to address the current health crisis in the form of direct grants, repayable advances or tax advantages. A bonus may be granted for cross-border cooperation projects between Member States.

(vii)  Support for the construction and upscaling of testing facilities to develop and test products (including vaccines, ventilators and protective clothing) useful to tackle the coronavirus outbreak, up to first industrial deployment. This can take the form of direct grants, tax advantages, repayable advances and no-loss guarantees. Companies may benefit from a bonus when their investment is supported by more than one Member State and when the investment is concluded within two months after the granting of the aid.

(viii)  Support for the production of products relevant to tackle the coronavirus outbreak in the form of direct grants, tax advantages, repayable advances and no-loss guarantees. Companies may benefit from a bonus when their investment is supported by more than one Member State and when the investment is concluded within two months after the granting of the aid.

(ix) Targeted support in the form of deferral of tax payments and/or suspensions of social security contributions for those sectors, regions or for types of companies that are hit the hardest by the outbreak.

(x) Targeted support in the form of wage subsidies for employees for those companies in sectors or regions that have suffered most from the coronavirus outbreak, and would otherwise have had to lay off personnel.

(xi) Targeted recapitalisation aid to non-financial companies, if no other appropriate solution is available. Safeguards are in place to avoid undue distortions of competition in the Single Market: conditions on the necessity, appropriateness and size of intervention; conditions on the State’s entry in the capital of companies and remuneration; conditions regarding the exit of the State from the capital of the companies concerned; conditions regarding governance including dividend ban and remuneration caps for senior management; prohibition of cross-subsidisation and acquisition ban and additional measures to limit competition distortions; transparency and reporting requirements.

The Temporary Framework enables Member States to combine all support measures with each other, except for loans and guarantees for the same loan and exceeding the thresholds foreseen by the Temporary Framework. It also enables Member States to combine all support measures granted under the Temporary Framework with existing possibilities to grant de minimis to a company of up to €25,000 over three fiscal years for companies active in the primary agricultural sector, €30,000 over three fiscal years for companies active in the fishery and aquaculture sector and €200,000 over three fiscal years for companies active in all other sectors. At the same time, Member States have to commit to avoid undue cumulation of support measures for the same companies to limit support to meet their actual needs.

Furthermore, the Temporary Framework complements the many other possibilities already available to Member States to mitigate the socio-economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak, in line with EU State aid rules. On 13 March 2020, the Commission adopted a Communication on a Coordinated economic response to the COVID-19 outbreak setting out these possibilities. For example, Member States can make generally applicable changes in favour of businesses (e.g. deferring taxes, or subsidising short-time work across all sectors), which fall outside State Aid rules. They can also grant compensation to companies for damage suffered due to and directly caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

The Temporary Framework will be in place until the end of December 2020. As solvency issues may materialise only at a later stage as this crisis evolves, for recapitalisation measures only the Commission has extended this period until the end of June 2021. With a view to ensuring legal certainty, the Commission will assess before those dates if it needs to be extended.

The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.57695 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved. New publications of State aid decisions on the internet and in the Official Journal are listed in the State Aid Weekly e-News.

More information on the Temporary Framework and other action the Commission has taken to address the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic can be found here.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

UN health agency highlights lifestyle choices that can prevent onset of dementia, as millions more succumb each year

Ukraine-EU deal sees the light but there’s no defeat for Russia

Baking The Galette-des-rois Of Egalitarianism

These are the world’s best universities for recycling and sustainability

Time to measure up: 5 ways the fashion industry can be made more sustainable

IMF’s Lagarde: Estimating Cyber Risk for the Financial Sector

Antitrust: Commission accepts commitments by Transgaz to facilitate natural gas exports from Romania

EU Budget 2019 to focus on young people

How the world can ‘reset’ itself after COVID-19 – according to these experts

Coronavirus: rescEU medical materials dispatched to Serbia

State aid: Commission invites interested parties to provide comments on proposed draft Climate, Energy and Environmental State aid Guidelines

MEPs call for decisive action to fight inequalities in the EU

Emergency coronavirus research: Commission selects 18th project to develop rapid diagnostics

Safer products: stepping up checks and inspections to protect consumers

Humanitarian action: New outlook for EU’s global aid delivery challenged by COVID-19

Professional practices of primary health care for Brazilian health and gender inequality

Here’s how one business leader is tackling injustice: It starts with personal commitment

MEPs agree on new rules to tax digital companies’ revenues

More countries are making progress on corruption – but there’s much to be done, says a new report

EU Parliament: The surplus countries must support growth

Commission launches the Fit for Future Platform and invites experts to join

The punishment gap: how workplace mistakes hurt women and minorities most

12 ways a human-centric approach to data can improve the world

The online junk information grows, but so we shall

NextGenerationEU: Commission presents next steps for €672.5 billion Recovery and Resilience Facility in 2021 Annual Sustainable Growth Strategy

UN envoy says he ‘is ready to go to Idlib’ to help ensure civilian safety amid rising fears of government offensive

How do we upskill a billion people by 2030? Leadership and collaboration will be key

Europe fit for the Digital Age: Commission proposes new rules for digital platforms

Coronavirus: EU makes available additional humanitarian funding of €41 million to fight the pandemic

Feeding a city from the world’s largest rooftop greenhouse

Autonomous vehicles could clog city centres: a lesson from Boston

Geographical Indications – a European treasure worth €75 billion

This new initiative aims to make cybercrime harder – and riskier – to commit

Children in crisis-torn eastern Ukraine ‘too terrified to learn’ amid spike in attacks on schools

UN welcomes Angola’s repeal of anti-gay law, and ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation

Solutions for cultural understanding: medical students’ perspective

Cape Town’s crisis shows us the real cost of water

UN Human Rights Council stands firm on LGBTI violence, Syria detainees and Philippines ‘war on drugs’

Here’s what could happen to the global economy this year

Our food system is pushing nature to the brink. Here’s what we need to do

Parliament wants binding rules on common chargers to be tabled by summer

Guatemala Dos Erres massacre conviction welcomed by UN human rights office

Expanding the care for the quality of life and quality of death

Sanctions: Commission further expands Guidance on COVID-19-related humanitarian aid in sanctioned environments

Building cybersecurity capacity through benchmarking: the Global Cybersecurity Index

A short history of climate change and the UN Security Council

How rescheduling debt for climate and nature goals could unlock a sustainable recovery

This app lets you plant trees to fight deforestation

Explained, the economic ties between Europe and Asia

EU Budget 2021 deal: supporting the recovery

Pandemic mental health: the urgency of self-care

State aid: Commission approves €1.25 billion German measure to recapitalise TUI

State aid: Commission approves €511 million Italian scheme to compensate commercial rail passenger operators for damages suffered due to coronavirus outbreak

MEPs adopt greener funds for regional development and cooperation

Data is the oil of the digital world. What if tech giants had to buy it from us?

Coronavirus: First case confirmed in Gulf region, more than 6,000 worldwide

The latest emoji are more inclusive – but who approves them?

G7 Summit: President von der Leyen outlines key EU priorities

Iran: UN rights chief ‘deeply disturbed’ by continuing executions of juvenile offenders

Fighting cybercrime – what happens to the law when the law cannot be enforced?

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s