Brussels, 30 th June 2009
State aid: Commission approves €50 million rescue aid loan to German retailer Quelle
The European Commission has approved under EC Treaty state aid rules a rescue aid loan of €50 million in favour of Quelle GmbH which will be granted by the German Federal State and the Länder of Bavaria and Saxony. The Commission has concluded that the aid complies with the conditions of the EU guidelines on rescuing and restructuring firms in difficulty (see ) because it takes the form of a loan and is limited in time.
Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said "The rescue aid loan to Quelle again demonstrates the Commission's commitment to ensure the rapid treatment of measures which boost the real economy without unduly distorting competition".
Quelle, an undertaking founded in 1927 in Nürnberg/Fürth (Germany) is specialised in consumer goods retail and mail order. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Arcandor A.G. On 9 June 2009, Quelle filed for insolvency following the difficulties of its parent company. Quelle's difficulties derive from the repeal of the factoring service agreement by Valovis Bank, its factoring service provider, in the wake of Quelle's insolvency. The absence of an on-going factoring service has put Quelle's liquidity under a severe strain.
To remedy the company's liquidity problems and avoid the risk of a bankruptcy, the continuation of Quelle's business required the swift arrangement of a new factoring agreement. A temporary €50 million liquidity facility had to be put in place in order to cover the risk of return of sold goods that has increased since the company filed for insolvency. On 25 June, the German authorities notified to the Commission a rescue aid loan to Quelle amounting to € 50 million which will be granted for a maximum duration of 6 months.
The Commission's investigation found that the proposed rescue aid, which is required as a matter of urgency to preserve the financial stability of the company, met the conditions of the EU Guidelines on state aid for rescuing and restructuring firms in difficulty (see ), because it is granted in the form of a repayable loan, the loan is limited to the minimum necessary to ensure the rescue of the company and it's duration is limited to a maximum of six months. In line with the Guidelines, Germany committed to notify to the Commission, not later than 6 months after the rescue aid is authorised, a restructuring plan, a liquidation plan or proof that the rescue loan has been repaid in full.
The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number N 9 in the on the 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 .