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MEMO/08/532

Brussels, 31st July 2008

State aid: Commission approves Danish rescue package for Roskilde Bank – frequently asked questions
(see also IP/08/1222)

What were the measures on which the Commission took a decision?

The Commission has taken a decision on the liquidity facility granted by the Danish National Bank to Roskilde Bank on 11 July 2008 and on the guarantees granted by the Danish private sector and the Danish government to cover potential losses under the liquidity facility.

Are any of the measures granted to Roskilde Bank prohibited?

No.

Are any of the measures granted to Roskilde Bank state aid?

The part of the liquidity facility granted by the Danish National Bank as of 11 July 2008, which was guaranteed by the private financial sector, and the private guarantee itself, do not constitute aid.

The remaining part of the liquidity facility that is guaranteed by the Danish State and the state guarantee attached to it, does constitute state aid but aid which is compatible.

These provisions are compatible as they comply with the EU Guidelines on state aid for rescuing and restructuring firms in difficulty. In line with these rules, the Danish authorities have given a commitment to submit in six months a restructuring or a liquidation plan or proof that the loan has been reimbursed in full and/or the state guarantee has been terminated.

Why is part of the measures not considered to be State aid?

The guarantee towards the Danish National Bank up to the amount of DKK 750 million (approx. € 100 million) was provided by "Det Private Beredskab" (Det Private Beredskab til afvikling af nødlidende banker, sparekasser og andelskasser), a fund set up by the private sector. Participation in this fund is voluntary. Moreover, the members of the highest authority, the committee of representatives, are private banks and the private bank members in the board of directors (the decision-making body) have a veto right.. Therefore, the Commission considered that no state resources are involved in the financing of the guarantee provided by Det Private Beredskab. Consequently, this guarantee does not constitute state aid under the EC Treaty rules (Article 87).

The loan covered by the guarantee of Det Private Beredskab was provided to Roskilde Bank at a penal interest rate]. Moreover, the guarantee provides the Danish National Bank with a highly secure coverage on its exposure to the liquidity facility. Therefore, the Commission considered that the part of the liquidity facility covered by the private sector guarantee does not contain any advantage for Roskilde Bank, but that the Danish National Bank, and the Danish State acted as a prudent market economy lender would have done. Therefore, the Commission concluded that this part of the liquidity facility does not constitute aid.

How is it ensured that the aid is limited to the minimum necessary if the liquidity facility and the government guarantee are unlimited?
Several mechanisms are in place to ensure that the aid amount is kept to the minimum necessary. In particular, the liquidity facility is constructed so that Roskilde bank receives only the cash needed to keep the firm in business for a maximum period of 6 months. The Danish Central Bank has appointed an independent monitor of the drawings under the liquidity facility. Furthermore, Roskilde Bank has agreed not to carry out any important operations which may influence the liquidity facility without the consent of the Danish Central Bank.

Were the measures notified?

The Danish authorities provided detailed information on the measures in contacts beginning immediately after the measures were adopted. The full information about the measures was communicated formally on 21st July 2008.

The government guarantee is not yet in place, as it still needs parliamentary approval. It will however have retroactive effect as from 11 July 2008.

Have the Danish authorities provided all of the information which you require for your assessment?

The Commission has received what it needs to authorise the rescue aid. The Danish authorities have undertaken to send by 11 January 2009, that is by the end of the six months period starting 11 July 2008 for which rescue aid can be authorised, either a restructuring or liquidation plan for the bank, or a confirmation that the aid measures have been brought to an end. If the restructuring plan involved any state aid then this would be subject to a new Commission authorisation and full details would need to be notified to the Commission.

What are the conditions to authorise rescue aid?

The conditions to consider an aid as compatible rescue aid can in general be summarised as follows:

  • The beneficiary has to be a firm in difficulty and it cannot have received any rescue or restructuring aid during the past 10 years.
  • The aid should in principle be in the form of liquidity support, but there are certain exceptions to these rules in the banking sector, in order to allow for prudential requirements. Furthermore, the aid should be restricted to the minimum necessary to keep the firm in business for the rescue period.
  • The aid must be granted in the form of loans or guarantees.
  • The aid must be limited to a period of not more than 6 months.
  • If the Member State communicates to the Commission within these 6 months a restructuring plan or liquidation plan, then the rescue aid can normally continue for the time the Commission needs to decide on this plan.

What are the conditions to authorise restructuring aid?

As regards the beneficiary, the conditions are the same as for rescue aid.

As regards the aid, a restructuring plan, capable of restoring the long term viability of the firm, must be provided. The state aid must be limited to the minimum necessary in time and amount, and the beneficiary must significantly contribute to the cost of the restructuring.
The aid must not distort competition to an extent contrary to the common interest. In this respect, the Commission may impose specific conditions and obligations on the beneficiary.


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