ANNOUNCEMENT 11 Nov 2011In November 2011, the government of Portugal announced a change in private-sector financial support.
NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS
the letter from the EC to Portugal - Brussels, 20.12.2011 C(2011)9441 final. Available from : < http://ec.europa.eu/competition/elojade/isef/case_details.cfm?proc_code=3_SA_33294 >
Portugal notified on 11 November 2011 the above mentioned measure to the Commission. The measure involves a grant to RTP of EUR 122.88 million.
RTP was created in 1955 as a public company to provide public service television broadcasting. In 1992 it was converted into a limited company which is fully owned by the State.
Regarding the context of the notified measure, by decision of 4 July 2006, the Commission had authorised State aid to RTP under case number NN 31/2006. A financial Restructuring agreement concluded between RTP and the Portuguese State on 22 September 2003 , which the Commission authorised foresaw payments to RTP of EUR 899.74 million until June 2013. The fact that these payments do not cover the whole global under-financing of the company has now become a financial problem for RTP, which is supposed to be remedied with the current notified grant.
Portugal notifies an amount of EUR 122 800 000 which is given to RTP as a grant in January 2012. Although the nominal value of the grant is EUR 344.5 million, this nominal value has been converted into its real value of EUR 251.4 million on 31 December 2003 in line with the approach of the 2006 Decision. The amount of EUR 251.4 million includes an amount of EUR 128.52 million that Portugal has not yet paid to RTP under the 2006 Decision. The remaining amount of EUR 122.88 million is the amount notified for approval with the current notification.
The commission found that the measure constitutes State aid within the meaning of Article 107 (1) TFEU and gave the following assessment:
'The measure strengthens RTP in relation to its competitors and it thus distorting or threatening to distort the competition on the market. The Portuguese television market is open to competition since 1992. RTP is thus in competition with other broadcasters for audience share and commercial revenues, e.g. from the sale of advertising. These broadcasters are active in the international broadcasting market. Therefore the measure also has an effect on trade between Member States.' (par. 30 of the letter from the EC to Portugal - Brussels, 20.12.2011 C(2011)9441 final)
The Commission has decided that the aid measure is compatible with the TFEU, in accordance with Article 106 (2).
A state measure in the GTA database is assessed solely in terms of the extent to which its implementation affects the extent of discrimination against foreign commercial interests. On this metric, the state aid proposed here is discriminatory.