Brussels, 25 May 2009
State aid: Commission approves Italian risk-capital measure to boost real economy
The European Commission has approved, under EC Treaty state aid rules, an Italian framework temporarily adapting certain existing risk-capital schemes to increase companies' financing possibilities during the current economic crisis. The measure will allow for more flexible risk-capital investments until 2010, in line with 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).
Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: "The current crisis requires urgent responses. I am glad that Italy has taken advantage of the new Temporary Framework for state aid, which has allowed the Commission to approve the measure swiftly."
Italy notified a package of measures under the Temporary Framework to the Commission. The risk capital framework is the first one to be authorised by the Commission.
In particular, the measure will allow five risk-capital investment schemes to increase, until 2010, the maximum investment tranches from €1.5 million to €2.5 million over each 12-month period. The minimum private participation for risk capital investments is temporarily reduced from 50% to 30%.
The duration and thresholds are in line with the provisions on risk-capital of the Commission's Temporary Framework state aid.
The risk-capital investment schemes concerned are aimed at facilitating the access to risk capital for small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) that are in their early stages of development. These are:
· aid scheme for risk capital (Regime di aiuti a favore del capitale di rischio) – Italy
· risk capital scheme for cooperatives (Interventi a livello di capitale di rischio a favore di imprese cooperative) - Region Marche
· risk capital scheme (Fondo NEXT) – Region Lombardia
· aid for investment in private equity (Aiuti a favore degli investimenti in private equity) - Camera di commercio di Vicenza
· risk capital scheme for SMEs (Fondo di capitale di rischio per le PMI) – Region Campania.
The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number N 279/2009 in the State Aid Register on the DG Competition website. New publications of state aid decisions on the internet and in the Official Journal are listed in the State Aid Weekly e-News .