ANNOUNCEMENT 31 May 2018
In May 2018, the European Investment Bank (EIB) signed a loan agreement with Telefonaktiebolaget L. M. Ericsson (Ericsson) to support its telecommunications, information technology, and software and services business activities in the area of 5G development and mobile technology. The loan will be guaranteed by the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI).
NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS
The European Investment Bank, Financed Projects, ERICSSON 5G: http://www.eib.org/en/projects/loan/loan/20170792
The European Investment Bank, Project summary, Project No. 20170792, ERICSSON 5G: http://www.eib.org/en/projects/pipelines/pipeline/20170792
The European Investment Bank, Press release of 31 May 2018, Ericsson finances research into 5G telecom technology with EU backing: http://www.eib.org/en/infocentre/press/releases/all/2018/2018-133-ericsson-finances-research-into-5g-telecom-technology-with-eu-backing
European Commission (13 January 2015): The Investment Plan for Europe: Questions and Answers: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-15-3223_en.htm
EIB: European Fund for Strategic Investments - Questions and Answers. Available at: http://www.eib.org/attachments/press/investment_plan_for_europe_qa_en.pdf
The loan agreement between the European Investment Bank (EIB) and Telefonaktiebolaget L. M. Ericsson (Ericsson) was signed on 31 May 2018 and has a total value of EUR 250 million (approx. USD 292 million).
More specifically four loan agreements were signed for the project concerning investments in development innovation and research of "fifth generation of mobile telecommunications systems (5G)". EUR 17.5 million is granted to the Irish project location, EUR 13 million is granted to the Spanish project location, EUR 195.5 million is granted to the Swedish project location and EUR 24 million is granted to other project locations in EU countries.
In this context, the European Commissioner for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness Jyrki Katainen stated in a press release: "When it comes to developing 5G technology, we need to up our game in Europe. I am proud that Ericsson - a European company – is investing heavily in preparing for 5G with the EU's financial backing. Being a leader in telecoms is crucial to maintain our competitiveness on a global stage so sufficient investment in 5G is strategically important for Europe."
Additiontionally, Vice-President of the EIB Alexander Stubb stated: "The development of 5G technology is easily one of the most important innovation initiatives for the telecom industry in the coming years. Ericsson has been one of the defining contributors to what mobile telephony is today and I think we can only be proud to support this. Apart from supporting European technology, this project will also make sure that thousands of highly-skilled jobs will stay in the EU."
A state act in the GTA database is assessed solely in terms of the extent to which its implementation affects foreign commercial interests. On this metric, the investment support granted here is discriminatory.
The EIB's loan to Telefonaktiebolaget L. M. Ericsson signed on 31 May 2018 was issued under the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI). The loan has a total value of EUR 250 million (approx. USD 292 million) and will support the company's investments in development, innovation and research of the "fifth generation of mobile telecommunications systems (5G)". The project will be carried out in Ireland, Spain, Sweden and other European countries.
The EFSI is a joint initiative by the EIB and the European Commission to promote investment in Europe. The EIB has designated EUR 7.5 billion of its capital for lending to European projects with a higher risk profile than usually taken on by the bank. To compensate for the increased lending risk, the European Commission has agreed to fully guarantee all lending under the EFSI up to a budget of EUR 26 billion. The loan described was issued under the EFSI and thus benefits from a full guarantee through the EU budget.
EFSI support does not fall under EU State Aid rules as it is meant as a tool to address "market failures or sub-optimal investment situations". However, the investment support does include favourable conditions in the form of public assumption of risk.
As described in the European Commission's Fact Sheet from 13 January 2015: "The type of risk-financing instruments will be designed so as to take uncertainty out ("first loss protection") of as such viable projects and therefore crowd-in private sector investments. Since the EFSI will take riskier tranches in investment projects, the private sector will be able to join under more favourable conditions." Furthermore, the EIB states that "The new initiative [i.e. the EFSI] will benefit from the EIB’s strong credit standing that enables funding at favourable conditions and across maturities".