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European Commission - Press release
State aid: Commission temporarily approves aid for the resolution of Greek T Bank
Brussels, 16 May 2012 – The European Commission has approved under EU state aid rules, for a period of six months, around €680 million of state support granted by the Hellenic Deposit and Investment Guarantee Fund ("HDIGF") to facilitate the acquisition of the economic activities of the Greek T Bank by Hellenic Postbank in the context of T Bank's resolution. The Commission approved the measure in order to preserve financial stability, before it takes a final decision on the restructuring of Hellenic Postbank.
Commission Vice President in charge of competition policy Joaquín Almunia said: "When a small bank is in difficulty, selling its good assets and liabilities to a larger bank is often an appropriate solution.. The Commission made sure that the aid granted in that context was restricted to the minimum necessary to compensate the buyer for the lower value of the assets transferred as compared to the transferred liabilities."
On 17 December 2011, the Bank of Greece ("BoG") proceeded with the resolution of T Bank through an auction, which resulted in the transfer of its assets and liabilities to Hellenic Postbank, and the withdrawal of T Bank's license, in accordance with the Greek resolution law. T Bank was put in liquidation. According to the BoG, the fair value of the liabilities transferred from T Bank to Hellenic Postbank amounted to approximately €2.16 billion and the fair value of the transferred assets amounted to approximately €1.48 billion. The difference between the two amounts of approximately €680 million was covered by the resolution branch of the HDIGF. The Commission concluded that this intervention constitutes State aid within the meaning of Article 107(1) TFEU.
The Commission found that the intervention by the HDIGF was necessary to maintain financial stability on the Greek banking markets, in accordance with Article 107(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU) that allows to grant aid to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a Member State. The Commission therefore approved the measure for a period of six months. If the Greek authorities submit to the Commission, within that six-month period, an updated restructuring plan for Hellenic Postbank which takes into account the integration of T Bank's activities into Hellenic Postbank, this temporary authorisation will be automatically prolonged until the Commission reaches a final decision on Hellenic Postbank´s restructuring plan.
T Bank is the rebrand of Aspis Bank, a small bank established in 1992. Aspis Bank had a number of problems in the past, e.g. a low capital base. On 17 December, 2011 the Bank of Greece proceeded with the resolution of T Bank through a transfer order of its assets and liabilities to Hellenic Postbank, which was already a shareholder of T Bank (with a share of around 32.9%).
Hellenic Postbank is the sixth biggest Greek domestic bank and was established in 1900. In May 2009, Hellenic Postbank received a capital injection of approximately €225 million (corresponding to approximately 2.9% of the bank's risk weighted assets at that time) under the Greek recapitalisation scheme which was approved by the Commission on 19 November 2008 and subsequently prolonged. The bank also received guarantees under the Greek guarantee scheme which was approved by the Commission also on 19 November 2008 and subsequently prolonged.
The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.34115 in the State Aid Register on the DG Competition website once any confidentiality issues are resolved. New publications of State aid decisions on the internet and in the Official Journal are listed in the State Aid Weekly e-News.