Brussels, 17 February 2009
The European Commission has raised no objections, under EC Treaty State aid rules, to the change of ownership of Anglo Irish Bank. The Irish authorities notified the taking into public ownership of Anglo Irish Bank for reasons of legal certainty. The Commission considers that the act of nationalisation as such involves no aid. Moreover, no further aid is being granted to Anglo Irish Bank beyond the guarantees already in place under the Irish guarantee scheme, approved by the European Commission on 13 October 2008 (see IP/08/1497).The Irish Government has committed to notify any possible state aid measures that it may wish to grant in future.
In the context of the current global financial crisis and recent disclosures regarding lapses to Anglo Irish Bank's corporate governance practices, which together undermined the financial position of the bank, the Irish Government decided to take Anglo Irish Bank into public ownership on 21 January 2009. For purposes of legal certainty, the Irish authorities notified the change of ownership of Anglo Irish Bank to the European Commission.
The European Commission considers that the purchase of existing shares and the takeover of assets, when these are not accompanied by a capital injection, assumption of liabilities or other state measures, do not favour the financial institution, inasmuch as they amount to a mere change of ownership. Therefore, they do not constitute state aid.
Moreover, no further aid is being granted to Anglo Irish beyond the guarantees already in place under the Irish guarantee scheme, approved by the European Commission on 13 October 2008 (see IP/08/1497). The Commission takes note of the fact that the Irish Government has committed to notify any possible State aid measures that it may wish to grant in future. It will examine any future possible aid in accordance with the principle of neutrality as regards property ownership (Article 295 of the EC Treaty).
The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number N 61/2009 in the State Aid Register on the DG 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.