Today, the European Commission approved a €2.45 billion of state aid to Caisse d’Épargne and Banque Populaire. Caisse d’Épargne and Banque Populaire have agreed to merge in a transaction that contemplated a total of €5 billion of French state aid, in addition to the €1.1 billion of assistance received by Caisse d’Épargne and €0.95 billion of assistance received by Banque Populaire under the French bank recapitalization program announced in October and then revised and approved by the European Commission in January. The European Commission approved the first €2.55 billion installment of the planned €5 billion of aid in March. In approving the remaining €2.45 billion of aid, the Competition Commissioner of the European Commission Neelie Kroes noted that “[t]he merger of Caisse d’Épargne and Banque Populaire groups has technical implications for their level of capitalization,” requiring a further capital injection to offset potentially adverse effects on the financing of the economy. Following the second installment, Caisse d’Épargne and Banque Populaire will have received a total of €7.05 billion in capital injections.
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European Commission approves additional installment of French aid for merging banks
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