The European Commission has decided that the "Growth Facility", a Dutch scheme to improve access to finance for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), does not constitute illegal State Aid within the meaning of EU rules.
Under the Growth Facility scheme (GF Scheme), the Dutch competent authority provides guarantees on 50% of new subordinated loans and equity to these companies, for up to 12 years. Loans guaranteed under the scheme can range from €2.5 million to €25 million. The Commission found that the fees paid in exchange for the guarantees give the Dutch State an appropriate remuneration level, ensuring that the scheme is self-financing, including administrative costs and the remuneration of virtual capital. This is the capital that a company operating on market terms would set aside as a precaution if it issued such a guarantee. Therefore, the Commission concluded that the GF Scheme does not constitute State Aid to the banks, nor to the borrowing companies.
In March 2018, the Commission approved a similar measure, the "Extended Growth Facility" (also known as GO Scheme), which is also a Dutch guarantee scheme but to support medium and large companies. But a few months earlier, the EU Commission found the Dutch government in breach of the EU State aid rules by granting illegal aid to IKEA, which confers a selective tax advantage to specific companies that can distort competition within the EU's Single Market.
Source: EU Commission