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Brussels, 29 September 2010

State aid: Commission closes investigation into Temporary Framework state guarantee for Romanian chemical producer Oltchim

The European Commission has closed an investigation into a Romanian State guarantee to chemical firm Oltchim after the government informed it had not been granted.

The European Commission opened an in-depth State aid investigation, in November 2009 (see IP/09/1748), over concerns that the planned guarantee of a bank loan to Oltchim, one of Romania's largest chemical companies, did not meet the conditions set in the Temporary Framework on state aid to assist companies' access to finance during the financial crisis. The investigation was triggered after a complaint that the State had granted the guarantee to cover 80% of a €62 million bank loan to Oltchim for it to acquire Arpechim, a troubled supplier.

As the Romanian authorities have, in the meantime, informed that the guarantee had not been granted, the Commission cannot pursue the investigation.

The Temporary Framework was introduced after the fall of Lehman Brothers as the ensuing financial crisis rendered difficult companies' access to finance (see IP/08/1993 and MEMO/08/795). One of the key conditions of the TF state aid rules to the real economy is that the beneficiary must be fundamentally sound. If a company has difficulties that pre-date the crisis and the Member State wishes to help it, the appropriate state aid rules are the traditional Rescue and Restructuring Guidelines.

The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number C 36/2009 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.

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