Brussels, 28 December 2012
State aid: Commission approves resolution plan for the Dexia group and restructuring plan for Belfius subject to fulfilling certain commitments
The European Commission has authorised aid granted by Belgium, France and Luxemburg for the orderly resolution of the Dexia group, the sale of its subsidiary DMA (Dexia Municipal Agency) and the restructuring of Belfius (formerly Dexia Banque Belgique). The Commission has concluded that, provided all commitments concerning the orderly resolution of the group, the restructuring of Belfius and the new development bank created in France, are complied with, these transactions are in line with EU state aid rules, in particular because the residual group will exit from the market altogether.
Joaquín Almunia, Commission Vice President in charge of competition policy, said: "I am happy to finally be in a position to approve the resolution plan of Dexia, which Belgium, France and Luxemburg have drawn up jointly. The plan will allow the orderly resolution of the group group. Belfius will refocus on its core banking and insurance business while DMA will be coupled to a new development bank structure in France, which will address market failures for the funding of the local public sector. As foreseen by our rules, the approved plan ensures that the continued market presence of some parts of the Dexia group is truly justified, without artificially keeping alive a failed business model, and that competition distortions resulting from the aid received are minimised. Finally, the plan brings the cost for the taxpayer down to the level strictly necessary to carry out the orderly resolution process".
Since 2008, the Dexia group benefitted from significant public support measures, which were authorised by the Commission in February 2010 subject to implementation of a restructuring plan (see IP/10/201). Dexia later underwent new difficulties. When it turned out that Dexia was not able to comply with its commitments or to return to long-term viability, Belgium, France and Luxemburg acknowledged the necessity of an orderly resolution of the group.
The orderly resolution plan notified to the Commission by these three Member States includes the sale of many entities and businesses of the group as well as the winding down of the residual group. In particular, the Belfius entity was bought by the Belgian state and the DMA entity will be coupled with a new development bank in France, to which the French State, the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (CDC) and La Banque Postale will participate. These measures involve additional aid, consisting mainly of a final refinancing guarantee of EUR 85 bn and a recapitalisation of EUR 5.5 bn for Dexia SA and DCL.
The Commission concluded that these aid measures are compatible with EU state aid rules for banks during the financial crisis. This is because the residual group will exit from the market altogether and will no longer exercise any competitive activities.
Furthermore, the new development bank structure in France will exclusively grant loans in sectors where there is a well identified market failure, i.e. loans to French local authorities and public hospitals. The structure of the development bank foresees several safeguards to avoid the crowding out of private funding, ensuring a level playing field in the Single Market.
Finally, the aid to Belfius is limited to the minimum necessary to enable its return to long-term viability. The group will not distribute profits in order to reinforce its regulatory capital, it will reduce risky business lines and will refocus on its core markets of financial services to the public and quasi-public sector as well as retail and insurance businesses. The restructuring plan includes adequate commitments to limit competition distortions in the core markets of banking and insurance where it is active and to ensure that Belfius will adequately contribute to the costs of its own restructuring. In particular, Belfius will not be allowed to increase its market share in core activities during the entire restructuring period.
The Dexia group was active in the financing of the local public sector in many countries, including mainly France, Belgium, Italy and Spain, as well as in retail banking, mainly in Belgium, Luxemburg and Turkey. The bank was set up in 1996 from the merger of the Crédit communal de Belgique group, the Banque internationale in Luxemburg and the Crédit local de France.
Dexia already benefitted from significant state aid measures from Belgium, France and Luxemburg in 2008-2009 in the form of recapitalisation (EUR 5.4 bn), refinancing guarantees (EUR 135 bn) and impaired asset measures (EUR 3.2 bn). The Commission authorised these aid measures subject to commitments in February 2010 based on a restructuring plan to be implemented until the end of 2014 (see IP/10/201).
Since then, the Commission opened and extended in-depth investigations concerning several additional measures granted to the Dexia group (see IP/11/1203, IP/11/1592, IP/12/523, IP/12/578 and MEX/12/0926). In March 2012, a first orderly resolution plan had been notified by Belgium, France and Luxemburg. The Commission had opened an investigation on this plan in June 2012, expressing doubts as to its compatibility with state aid rules (IP/12/578).
The current decision, taken on the basis of an amended resolution plan, allows the closing of all these investigations. It authorises new state aid to the Dexia group, under the form a refinancing guarantee of EUR 85 bn and a recapitalisation of EUR 5.5 bn.
The non-confidential version of the current decision will be made available under the case numbers SA.33760, SA.33763, SA.33764, SA.30521, SA.26653, SA.34925, SA.34927 and SA.34928 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.
Antoine Colombani (+32 2 297 45 13)
Maria Madrid Pina (+32 2 295 45 30)