A €100 million Italian State aid scheme to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)has been approved by the European Commission, providing a lifeline to the agricultural, forestry, fishery and aquaculture sectors.
‘This €100 million scheme will enable Italy, through the provision of State guarantees, to support SMEs active in the agricultural, forestry, fishery and aquaculture sectors, which are currently experiencing difficulties due to the coronavirus outbreak,’ said Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy.
‘The scheme will help those businesses cover their immediate liquidity needs, and support them to continue their activities during and after the outbreak. Putting in place the necessary national support measures in a timely, coordinated and effective way, in line with EU rules, is of paramount importance in these challenging times.’
Italy notified to the Commission under the amended Temporary Framework a €100 million scheme to support SMEs in the agriculture, forestry, fishery and aquaculture sectors affected by Covid-19 pandemic.
Under the scheme, support will be granted by the State-owned ISMEA Guarantee Fund, through financial institutions, in the form of state guarantees on investment and working capital loans and direct grants in the form of waiving of the applicable fee on guarantees awarded.
The scheme aims at enabling those companies to have access to the financial means they need to cover their immediate working capital and investment needs and maintain their activities.
The Commission found that the measure is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework notably because with respect to the State guarantees, under the scheme guarantees on loans covering 100% of the risk can be granted up to a nominal value of €120,000 per company active in the fishery sector.
The underlying loan amount per company is limited to what is needed to cover its liquidity needs for the near future and the guarantees will only be provided until December 2020. Guarantees are limited to a maximum of six years, and guarantee fee premiums are in line with the levels set out by the Temporary Framework.