European Commission - Press release
State aid: Commission temporarily approves rescue aid for Danish Max Bank
Brussels, 10 October 2011 - The European Commission has granted temporary approval, under EU state aid rules, to Danish public support to facilitate the sale of part of Max Bank. Max Bank is a small bank active primarily in southern and western parts of Zealand, Denmark. The bank has reported significant impairment losses on loans and advances. As a result the Danish Financial regulator considered necessary a rescue of the bank.
The bank will be split into a good part and a bad part. The good part is sold to an acquiring bank (Sparekassen Sjælland) whilst the 'bad bank' will be wound down which is made possible by the provision of cash or guarantees from the Financial Stability Corporation (FSC) and the Guarantee Fund for Depositors and Investors. The FSC is a Danish state-owned winding-up company.
The Commission agrees that the measures accompanying the sale of Max Bank are necessary to preserve the stability of the Danish financial system. It would appear that the aid amount is limited to the minimum necessary, provides for an appropriate burden-sharing and sufficient safeguards are in place to avoid undue distortions of competition.
The Commission's final approval of the support measures is conditional on the presentation within six months of a restructuring plan that shows that the integrated entity is viable and that the aid is limited to the strict minimum necessary. The bank's shareholders have lost their investment in the sale's process.
Max Bank is mainly active in the southern and western parts of Zealand, Denmark. The bank's headquarter is located at Næstved Harbour. Max Bank has nine retail customer branches and four corporate centers. In September 2010 Max Bank merged with Skælskør Bank, following which it became a significant regional bank in the southern and western parts of Zealand. The Danish state owns (December 2010) 19.4 % in share capital due to a conversion of the hybrid core capital injected under the Danish State aid scheme for the financial sector.
Temporary State aid framework for banks
In December 2010, the Commission prolonged the crisis-related state aid rules for banks until the end of 2011, albeit with stricter conditions (see IP/10/1636).
The rules are outlined in a Communication on the recapitalisation of financial institutions (see IP/08/1901) enabling Member States to inject emergency support into banks in order to safeguard financial stability, and in the Banking Communication (see IP/08/1495).
Under these Communications the Commission can temporarily authorize emergency support under the condition that a restructuring plan is submitted that ensures the bank's viability and compensation for the distortion of competition.
The July 2009 Communication on restructuring aid to banks (see IP/09/1180) outlines the terms under which Member States can give aid to banks for periods exceeding six months.
The non-confidential version of the present decision will be made available under case number SA.33639 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
Amelia Torres (+32 2 295 46 29)
Maria Madrid Pina (+32 2 295 45 30)