ANNOUNCEMENT 11 Jun 2014In June 2014, the government of Italy announced a change in private-sector financial support.
NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS
Official letter from the EC to Italy in English, SA.38579:
On11 June 2014, the European Commission allowed Italy to provide theImpresa S.p.A. with a rescue aid in the form of a 6-month guarantee for lines ofcredits that are being defined in order to meet liquidity needs worthEUR 50.93 million.
Thebeneficiary party has been operating in the construction sector forcivil and industrial infrastructure, including road, railway and maritime infrastructure,since 1976. Its primary market is Italy but it has operations abroad aswell (see below). Further, at the time of the Commission's decision thefirm held 2% of the production value of the top 25 construction companies in Italy. The undertaking was declaredinsolvent on 18 July 2013.
The EC cited the Italian authorities which pointed to the fact that 'thecauses of the Company's difficulties are to be found in the decline in the number and value of work contracts due tothe lower amount of public funding, progressive delays in the paymentsfor the ongoing public work contracts, increase in costs, and increasein the number of contractual claims.' (para. 8, letter from the EC to Italy, Brussels 11.6.2014)
Based on the findings of the Commission, 'bygranting Impresa S.p.A. access to liquidity at conditions which itwould not otherwise obtain, the State guarantee is liable to improve thecompetitive position of Impresa S.p.A. in relation to its competitors inthe internal market. It consequently distorts or threatens to distortcompetition and affects trade between Member States.' (para. 18)
Astate measure in the GTA database is assessed solely in terms of theextent to which its implementation affects the extent of discrimination against foreigncommercial interests. On this metric, the state aid proposed here isdiscriminatory.
Since the Commission repeatedly stressed in its letter that Impresa S.p.A. has also operating branches in Albania, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Greece, Kazakhstan and Oman, these are the countries mostly likely to be affected by the measure.