Brussels, 11th March 2009
State aid: Commission authorises temporary Hungarian scheme allowing subsidised state guarantees to boost real economy
The European Commission has authorised under EC Treaty rules on state aid a Hungarian scheme aimed at providing relief to companies encountering financing difficulties as a result of the credit squeeze in the current economic crisis. The scheme allows authorities to grant aid in the form of subsidised guarantees for investment and working capital loans and financial leasing concluded by 31 December 2010. The scheme meets the conditions of the Commission’s Temporary Framework for state aid measures to support access to finance in the current financial and economic crisis (see IP/08/1993), as amended on 25 February 2009, because it is limited in time, respects the relevant thresholds and applies only to companies that were not in difficulty on 1 July 2008. It is therefore compatible with Article 87(3)(b) of the EC Treaty, which permits aid to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a Member State.
Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said "By facilitating the access of firms to loans, the notified measure is an effective way of encouraging business investment and economic recovery, without unduly distorting competition."
The Hungarian authorities designed the scheme on the basis of the rules laid down in the Commission's Temporary Framework on state aid to the real economy during the current crisis (see IP/08/1993) and in particular the conditions for aid in the form of subsidised guarantees. During a period of up to two years the guarantee fee for loan and leasing guarantees contracted no later than 31 December 2010 can be reduced by 25% compared with the market level fee calculated through a methodology accepted by the Commission. The guarantee coverage can amount to 90% of the underlying loan or leasing. Guarantees can only be given under the scheme to small or medium sized enterprises up to a total of € 2.5 million per beneficiary. The scheme does not apply to firms that were already in difficulty on 1 July 2008 (i.e. before the credit crunch).
The scheme is to be implemented by Garantiqa-Hitelgarancia Zrt on behalf of the Hungarian state. It is already the third Hungarian measure authorised under the Temporary Framework (for the first two please see IP/09/325).
The decision will be published in the State Aid Register on DG Competition’s website, under the reference number N 114/2009. The latest decisions on state aid published in the Official Journal and on the website are listed in the electronic newsletter State aid Weekly e-News.