ANNOUNCEMENT 21 Oct 2009In October 2009, the government of Italy announced a change in private-sector financial support.
NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS
the letter from the EC to Italy - Brussels, 09.11.2009 C(2009)8749. Available from : < http://ec.europa.eu/competition/elojade/isef/case_details.cfm?proc_code=3_N579_2009 >
On 21 October 2009, the Italian authorities notified their intention to grant a rescue aid to ITTIERRE S.p.A. The beneficiary is the mother company of a large group of firms (hereinafter "Ittierre" or the "Group") which was created in the mid 1980s and is active in the industry of fashion, creating, producing and distributing high-quality wearing apparel and accessories at national and international level.
The Group is currently facing a phase of severe financial difficulties which has culminated on 12 February 2009 with the admission of the mother company, as well as the totality of the Italian companies controlled by and affiliated to it, into the collective insolvency procedure foreseen under Italian law for large companies.
The envisaged financial support consists of a State guarantee on credit lines for the amount of EUR 64.2 million.
The commission found that the measure constitutes State aid within the meaning of Article 87 (1) of the EC Treaty and gave the following assessment:
'Firstly, the measure at stake consists of a guarantee which is selective as it is deemed to favour a single group, Ittierre. Secondly, the measure will be financed by reserves accumulated in the general budget of Italy, and thus undoubtedly by a Member State and through State resources. Thirdly, the guarantee will provide the Group with access to credit lines that -being subject to a collective insolvency procedure- it would not have been able to obtain at comparable conditions. Under those circumstances, in accordance with points 3 (2) and 4 (1) (a) of the Notice of 20 June 2008 on the application of Articles 87 and 88 of the EC Treaty to State Aid in the form of Guarantees7, the guarantee must be considered to confer an advantage. Finally, as there is worldwide trade in high-quality wearing apparel and accessories like those produced and distributed by Ittierre, the measure is apt to improve the position of the recipient in relation to its competitors in Italy and the EU, and it consequently distorts competition and affects trade between Member States.' (par. 13 of the letter from the EC to Italy - Brussels, 09.11.2009 C(2009)8749)
The Commission concludes that the notified measure aimed at rescuing Ittierre is compatible with the common market in accordance with Article 87(3)(c) of the EC Treaty.
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.