20-Jun-2013 9:36 AM

European Commission opens investigation into SAS Scandinavian Airlines' state support

European Commission opened (19-Jun-2013) an investigation to verify whether a public support measure granted in 2012 by Sweden and Denmark to SAS Scandinavian Airlines' is in line with EU state aid rules. Under SAS's new restructuring plan in 2012, a revolving credit facility (RCF) granted in the past to SAS by a number of banks was replaced by a new RCF of SEK3.5 billion (EUR400 million). Half of the new RCF was provided by Sweden, Denmark and Norway in proportion to their shareholding and the remaining 50% by most of the banks that participated in the old RCF and Knut and Alice Wallenberg foundation (KAW). The Commission said it doubts the new RCF was carried out on market conditions, as the public shareholders on the one hand and the banks and KAW on the other hand were not in a comparable situation. The Commission also said it has concerns over the reliability of the airline's new business plan. Therefore the Commission has opened an investigation into Sweden and Denmark's participation. The Commission also examined other measures in favour of SAS in 2009, 2010 and 2012 and decided they were carried out on market terms and therefore do not involve state aid. European Low Fares Airline Association (ELFAA) welcomed the Commission's decision to launch an investigation into the public support measure. [more - original PR - European Commission] [more - original PR - ELFAA]

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