An encouraging example that banks may be able to raise funds from private investors without needing State aid has been provided in relation to Austrian regional bank Landes-Hypothekenbank Steiermark Aktiengesellschaft (‘Hypo Steiermark’). The Austrian state owns 25% plus one of the shares in Hypo Steiermark and a privately owned Austrian bank owns the remaining shares. In October 2008, the board of Hypo Steiermark decided to recapitalise to the total of €25 million by issue of new shares. The European Commission found that this recapitalisation does not constitute State aid because both shareholders were subject to the same pro-rata share increase, maintaining their percentage shareholding in the Hypo Steiermark; this was held not to constitute State aid under Article 87(1) EC Treaty in line with the market economy investor principle.
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Bank recapitalisation does not constitute aid
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