ANNOUNCEMENT 16 Oct 2013

In October 2013, the government of Belgium announced a change in private-sector financial support.

NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS

1

  • 1 harmful
  • 0 neutral
  • 0 liberalising
Inception date: 01 Sep 2009 | Removal date: 31 Aug 2015
Still in force

Capital injection and equity stakes (including bailouts)

On 16 October 2013, theEuropean Commission launched an investigation into the funding of thesteel group Duferco granted by the Belgian region Walloon. In the past,the steel company has received around EUR 517 million (incl. earlier state measures) by the Foreign Strategic Investments Holding (FSIH), which in turnbelongs to the Société walloonne de gestion et de participations fullyowned by the region of Walloon.

 
The beneficiary is aSwiss-based group manufacturing and selling steel in about 50 countries. At the time of the launch of the inquiry, the Duferco group had oneremaining plant operating in Belgium. In Europe, it is also active in Italy, Switzerland, Luxemburg, France and FYRO Macedonia.
 
The aid has been received inthe form equity participation, capital injections and preferential loans. The FSIHrealised three measures worth EUR 275 million since 2009, namely:

  • Sept. 2009 a loan of EUR 100 million to the group's ultimate parent for the duration of 6 years
  • Sept. 2009 a loan of EUR 75 million to Steel Investment Finance, partially owned by Duferco
  • June2011 a capital injection of EUR 100 million into Duferco Long Products.

According to the Commission,the above mentioned state aid provides an "economic advantage unconditioned toan investment by the company" (para. 192, letter from the EC toBelgium, Brussels 16.10.2013; own translation) and the EC has therefore "serious doubts as to the compatibility of themeasures with the internal market" (para. 193; own translation).
 
Update
On 20 January 2016, the Commission ordered Duferco to recover 211 million EUR from several of its subsidiaries.
 
A state measure in the GTAdatabase is assessed solely in terms of the extent to which itsimplementation affects the extent of discrimination against foreigncommercial interests. On this metric, the state aid proposed here is discriminatory.