In October 2008, the government of the Netherlands announced a change in private-sector financial support.



  • 1 harmful
  • 0 neutral
  • 0 liberalising
Inception date: 31 Mar 2009 | Removal date: 28 Dec 2013

Capital injection and equity stakes (including bailouts)

On 22 October 2008. the Netherlands notified EUR 10 billion capital increase of ING Groep NV. (ING) (related measures) The decision was accompanied by a Restructuring plan in 2009 (present measure).
The ING group offers banking, insurance and asset management in more than 50 countries. ING is the 19th biggest financial institution globally, with a total balance sheet of EUR 1'332 billion in 2008. (para. 7, letter from the EC to Brussels, 31.3.2009)
To comply with liquidity requirements, the state needed to interfere in early 2009 by taking over risky assets and provide government bonds instead.
The EC finds that: 'the measure reduces the amount of capital ING has to hold against these assets. Given that the market value of the portfolio is less than the price paid it is evident that no market operator would provide such a facility under similar conditions' (para. 47)
Furthermore: 'As the measure is favouring only ING it is selective and leads to a distortion of competition and affects intra-Community trade because the banking sector operates internationally' (para. 48)
Update: Annulation of the 2009 decision, 2012 re-evaluation:
On 28 January 2010, the Netherlands demanded annulment of the 2009 Restructuring Decision at the General Court. The Court finally annulled the first and second paragraphs of Article 2 of the 2009 Restructuring Decision. The paragraphs concerned: a) the existence of state aid and b) compatibility with the internal market.
Therefore the Commission has to re-assess the restructuring aid and the restructuring plan from 2012. The 2012 investigation raises doubts on the following points:

  • whether the remuneration of the recapitalisation measure was still appropriate, given that ING had not paid coupons to the State since 2009, which triggered a re-notification for the reasons described in Recital (2);
  • whether the proposed amendments of commitments, and in particular the alternative proposed by the Netherlands as a substitute for the WUB commitment, ensure compatibility of the restructuring aid;
  • whether ING Direct had been pricing aggressively, in particular in Italy.(para. 10, letter from the EC to the Netherlands, Brussels 16.11.2012)

The Netherlands amended the Restructuring Plan several times between 31 October 2012 and 30 October 2013. (para. 6, letter from the EC to the Netherlands, Brussels 5.11.2013)
The EC concludes that:the amendments do not have a negative impact on ING's viability, while the amended commitments are equivalent to the original ones in terms of burden-sharing and mitigation of competition distortions. (para. 46)
Update 2: Prolongation of restructuring aid and repayment schedule: SA.29832
The renewed regulation foresees a repayment of all securities by 15 March 2015 (last tranche of EUR 1.25billion) (par. 130, letter from the EC tot he Netherlands, Brussels 16.11.2012). The Netherlands further commit to multiple divestments until 31 December 2015. (par. 102-104). Other competition enhancing measures like acquisition ban & price leadership ban are in place until the divestments are done (par. 107-110).
With the divestments and the repayment of state guarantees, the state aid measures are considered to expire on 31 December 2015 at latest.
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