Brussels, 15 May 2013
State aid (Italy): Commission approves public investment in capital of Ferrarini Group-controlled NewCo.
The European Commission approved today a €12.5 million equity investment by the Italian public investor Istituto Sviluppo Agroalimentare (ISA) in the share capital of the company NewCo, controlled by the Ferrarini Group. The Commission concluded that the investment proposed by the Italian government does not constitute State aid, as it would have been acceptable to a private investor operating under normal market conditions.
The planned investment (€12.5 million by ISA, out of a total investment of €25 million) is to be undertaken by "Istituto Sviluppo Agroalimentare", an Italian public company whose shares are entirely held by the Italian Ministry for Agriculture, Food and Forestry Policies. The investment intends to finance the creation of a new company within the Ferrarini Group, "NewCo", which will help to relocate the current industrial plant to a more suitable site. This will allow the Group, one of the leading European food producers, to meet foreign markets' demands and expand further.
The Italian authorities had consulted the Commission, looking for legal certainty as to whether or not there was State aid in the financial intervention they proposed. Investments by public investors are considered not to constitute State aid when fresh capital is contributed in circumstances that would be acceptable to a private investor operating under normal market conditions ("Market Economy Investor Principle"). The Commission analysed the business plan submitted to check whether the valuation underlying the equity investment would also reflect the market's value assessment.
The Commission has concluded that the intended investment will not provide the Ferrarini Group with capital at terms better than would be obtained on the market. The investment therefore does not confer any economic advantage on the Ferrarini Group and the measure thus does not constitute State aid.
The full text of the Commission decision will be published in the State Aid Register under the reference number SA.35180. More information on state aid in the agricultural sector is available at http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/stateaid/index_en.htm