ANNOUNCEMENT 26 Feb 2009In February 2009, the government of Poland announced a change in private-sector financial support.
NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS
the letter from the EC to Poland - Brussels, 20.04.2009 C (2009)3030. Available from < http://ec.europa.eu/competition/elojade/isef/case_details.cfm?proc_code=3_N116_2009 >
On 26 February 2009, Poland notified a rescue aid to Diora Swidnica Sp. z o.o. ("Diora"), an undertaking active in the manufacture of sound systems (boxes, speakers, concert hall products and televisions set stands).
Diora, the beneficiary of the rescue aid, is located in a region of Dolnoslaskie, a Polish region eligible for regional aid under Article 87(3)(a) of the EC Treaty.
Diora employs 160 workers. In 2007 the company's turnover amounted to PLN 12.2 million (EUR 2.7 million)1 and the balance sheet totalled PLN 6.0 million (EUR 1.3 million). With these figures the company meets the SME thresholds. However, Diora is owned by 68% by the state-controlled Industrial Development Agency (Agencje Rozwoju Przemyslu S.A., "ARP"), therefore, it needs to be classified as a large enterprise. In addition, the remaining shares of the company, 32%, are held by a Polish private company UNITRA THP S.A. (hereinafter referred to as "UNITRA"), which holds also shares in seven other companies. For this reason Diora cannot be considered as an independent undertaking, but forms part of a larger business group.
The Polish authorities notified to the Commission a rescue aid in a form of a loan in the amount of PLN 1,200,000 (EUR 0.27 million). This loan is to be granted to the beneficiary by a public entity, ARP, in one installment. The loan is to be repaid within six months of its disbursement, i.e. after the sum is paid to the company's bank account. The interest will be charged at the rate of 7.78%, which is 100b.p. higher than the reference rate established by the Commission for Poland.
The Commission stated that the present loan in favor of Diora constitutes State aid pursuant to Article 87(1) of the EC Treaty and gave the following assessment:
"The loan in favour of Diora is provided by ARP, which is a public entity over which the state excises control, and, therefore, the loan is granted from state resources and is imputable to the State. The loan constitutes a selective advantage since it will provide Diora with access to credit that, being in a difficult situation, the company would not be able to obtain on the market. Furthermore, as there is trade between the Member States in sounds systems which Diora manufactures, the measure is apt to improve the competitive position of the beneficiary in relation to its competitors in Poland and the EU, and it, consequently, distorts or threatens to distort the competition and affects trade between the Member States." (par. 8 of the EC's letter to Poland - Brussels, 20.04.2009 C (2009)3030).
However, the Commission has decided, on the basis of the foregoing assessment, to consider that the state aid consisting in a loan of PLN 1,200,000.00 (EUR 0.27 million) for Diora Swidnica Sp. z o.o. 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.