ESA: State aid in connection with the merger of Byr and Íslandsbanki cleared


EFTA Surveillance Authority has concluded on two state aid issues in connection with the merger of the Icelandic banks Byr Hf. and Íslandsbanki. The Authority has approved a prolongation of the government loan facility for Byr until the merger with Íslandsbanki has become effective. Íslandsbanki is authorised to go ahead with the merger.

Íslandsbanki received a state aid in the wake of the financial crisis. Banks that have received aid and are in a process of restructuring are normally not allowed to buy competitors. An exemption from this rule can be granted subject to two main conditions: the acquisition is necessary and proportionate to safeguard financial stability and it does not entail undue distortions of competition. The Authority is of the opinion that these conditions are met in this case.

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