Brussels, 25 July 2012
State aid: Commission finds the loan by Poland for Crist Shipyard is not aid
After an in-depth investigation, the European Commission concluded that a PLN 150 million loan (around € 37,5 million) granted by the State-owned Polish Industrial Development Agency (IDA) to Crist Shipyard was in line with EU state aid rules. The Commission found that the loan was granted on market terms and therefore did not give Crist an undue economic advantage. As a result, the loan does not constitute state aid in the meaning of EU state aid rules.
In January 2012, the Commission opened on its own initiative an investigation into loans granted by IDA to Nauta and Crist for the acquisition of assets of Gdynia Shipyard (see IP/12/41). The investigation regarding Nauta is on-going.
Based on the information submitted by the Polish authorities the Commission’s analysis focused on the following aspects: (i) the interest rate at which the loan was granted, (ii) the collateral that Crist provided, (iii) the business information of Crist available to IDA prior to the granting of the loan.
The Commission's investigation found in particular that the information on the basis of which IDA granted the loan to Crist was such that a private investor would have come to the same decision. The Commission also found that the interest rate of the loan corresponded to a market rate and that the level of collateral covered well the credit risks. The Commission therefore concluded that the IDA loan had not procured an undue economic advantage to Crist and induced no distortion of competition. As a consequence, the loan does not constitute state aid in the meaning of Article 107 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).
Interventions by public authorities in companies with economic activities are considered to be free of aid when they are carried out on terms that a private player operating under market conditions would have accepted (the so-called "market economy investor principle" – MEIP).
When the Commission has doubts that the MEIP has been complied with, it has to open an in-depth investigation. If the Commission finds that a measure complied with the principle, it takes a decision finding that there was not state aid involved. If the MEIP was not respected, the Commission considers that a measure contains state aid. The Commission then proceeds to verify whether the aid can be found compatible with EU state aid rules, in particular because it furthers an objective of common interest (e.g. regional development, environmental protection or fostering research & development) without unduly distorting competition in the internal market.
The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.33114 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.