SAS did not receive illegal state aid, EU concludes
The EU Commission has ruled that financial support given to SAS by Denmark, Sweden and Norway did not contravene the EU’s rules against the provision of state aid, the commission announced in a press release on Wednesday.
Sweden, Denmark and Norway are the airline's biggest shareholders, owning 21.4, 14.3 and 14.3 percent of the company respectively. The company had a revolving credit facility (RCF) provided by several banks that should have expired in June 2013. The banks required that the shareholders participate in the financing as a condition to renewing the financing so the three states financed half of the 3.5 billion Swedish kroner facility.
Public support must satisfy criteria
The EU rules do not permit public support unless it was concluded on terms that a private lender operating under market conditions would have accepted. The commission began an investigation in June 2013 to establish whether this was the case.
The commission found that, although the three states and the banks were not in a comparable position when deciding to participate in the new RCF, there was an economically reasonable basis for the three States' decision to participate.
“The RCF that Denmark, Sweden and Norway granted to SAS in December 2012 was carried out on market terms and therefore did not constitute state aid within the meaning of EU rules,” the commission concluded.