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State Aid

State aid: Acquisition of Sparisjodur Svarfdaela by Landsbankinn approved



Today, the EFTA Surveillance Authority has approved the state aid in connection with the acquisition of all assets and operations of Sparisjodur Svarfdaela (SpSv) by Landsbankinn

Landsbankinn received state aid in the wake of the financial crisis.[1] Banks that have received state aid and are in the process of restructuring – such as Landsbankinn – are normally not allowed to buy competitors – such as SpSv, unless:

  • the acquisition is  necessary and proportionate to safeguard financial stability
  • it does not entail undue distortions of competition

The Authority is of the opinion that these conditions are met in this case.

The Authority agrees with the Icelandic authorities in that the insolvency of an Icelandic bank could possibly have had negative effects for financial stability. Given the still fragile state of financial markets, and the lack of more appropriate alternatives to ensure that SpSv could meet the minimum capital requirements, the acquisition by Landsbankinn of SpSv constitutes necessary and proportionate means to safeguard financial stability in the Authority's view.

Landsbankinn was the only party that submitted a binding offer for SpSv in an open and transparent sales process. Given the relatively small size of SpSv, the Authority is of the view that the acquisition does not entail undue distortion of competition.

The Authority will, however, take the acquisition into account when assessing the restructuring aid that Landsbankinn has received – a formal investigation into these measures is pending. 

A non-confidential version of the Decision will be published in the register of state aid decisions on the Authority's website, normally within a month from the date of the Decision.

For further information, please contact:

Mr. Trygve Mellvang-Berg
Press & Information Officer
tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 66

mob. (+32)(0)492 900 187

[1] The Authority's formal investigation regarding the aid to Landsbankinn  is still pending. See the Authority's press release of 15 December 2010.

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