MILAN – The European Commission gave a green light on Friday to Italy’s plan to transfer certain state-guaranteed loans from banks to a new platform managed by state-owned bad loan specialist AMCO, ruling the move free of any state aid.
Italy had told the Commission that it was willing to allow banks to transfer off their balance sheets around 12 billion euros of loans, the EU executive body wrote in a statement.
“This scheme will enable Italy to maximise the recovery of loans while reducing the impact of the existing state guarantees on the national budget and the effects on the borrowers with good prospects of viability”, EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said.
The Commission found that, under the scheme, the Italian State will be remunerated in line with market conditions.
It also found that the sale of the loans to the platform managed by AMCO as well as any potential new loans granted by it will be carried out on market terms.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Italy underwrote 277 billion euros ($277.42 billion) in COVID-related corporate debt, significantly more than other European countries.
Some of the 2.7 million small and mid-sized (SME) Italian businesses that took on state-guaranteed debt are now heavily exposed to skyrocketing electricity and gas prices which undermine their ability to honour the debts.
($1 = 0.9985 euros)